‘The Mercenary Sea #4:’ Advance Comic Book Review (Top Hat Is Top Notch!)

Image Comics’ The Mercenary Sea has been receiving my praise since its very first issue. Writer Kel Symons and artist Mathew Reynolds have used their talent and skills to craft one of the most unique and original comic series on the shelf these days. Playing out like a pulse-pounding, action-packed war epic with Johnny Quest-inspired visuals, the tale of Captain Jack Harper and his refitted German U-Boat (despite the inclusion of female mechanic Samantha on the crew) has been very much a “boy’s club.” Well, that all goes out the porthole in The Mercenary Sea #4 with the introduction of a new female character, cut from the same cloth as Captain America’s Peggy Carter, in what is easily the best issue of the series yet!

MINOR SPOILERS BELOW

At this point, I should probably just start every Mercenary Sea review by drooling over the awesome and gorgeous cover by Reynolds. While the covers don’t depict the events that take place inside of each issue, they, instead, seek to convey the feeling of the many missions Harper’s crew has experienced together, establishing an almost immediate, untold history for the cast of characters. It’s a brilliant concept, reminiscent of the one sheets for classic B-movies, and if The Mercenary Sea gets the long series run it deserves, the cover images could easily be collected in a large format art book that would certainly find a place on my shelf.

As I’ve come to expect from the amazing team of Symons and Reynolds, The Mercenary Sea #4 is action-packed, features an amazing and emotive coloring job, and continues to be one of the most incredibly cinematic comics that I’ve ever read. Reynolds' art hits with a similar power to Frank Miller’s legendary Sin City art, channeling an atmospheric edge that most book’s only dream of. At the same time, Reynolds’ style is something all his own, featuring vibrant, full use of the color palette and, as mentioned earlier in the review, a cinematic quality that is almost unparalleled in comics today. The Mercenary Sea #4  includes several standout images from Reynolds, including the aforementioned cover, a large panel image of Harper and his team emerging from the jungle to meet the leader of the Chinese resistance, Chen Xie, and the breathtaking reveal of Evelyn Green (a.k.a. Top Hat) in the blood red glow of an early sun rise.

Now, let’s talk about Evelyn Green. This dignified, yet tough as nails, British spy is an incredibly charismatic and entertaining character and an excellent addition to the book. While we may be introduced to her in a situation where Harper and his crew rescue her from her would-be executioners, she quickly takes the reigns, establishing herself as the de facto leader of the group, as well as its moral center. Symons also gives his spy the most delicious dialogue, a great sense of humor, and the stones to take on even Captain Jack Harper himself, stating, “Bloody hell, am I going to have a problem with you, too?” when he tries to dissuade her from joining them on a dangerous outing. “No, ma’am. Not at all,” replies our Captain. Lead the way, Evelyn. We know our place and are ready to follow!

Finally, I have to give a quick shout out to some awesome ideas present in the letters column at the end the the issue. Symons’ idea to add G.I. Joe-style bios of Harper and his crew sounds like a top-notch idea, as well as the idea of The Mercenary Sea tees featuring Reynolds' stunning art. Finally, Symons is giving away some official Mercenary Sea stickers. Simply send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the letter column address and nab these awesome promos while you still can!


FINAL VERDICT: The Mercenary Sea continues to smash expectations and deliver a monthly dose of intrigue, excitement, and thrilling and exotic adventure. I can not recommend this title enough. The writing, the artwork, the characters... everything is tip-top here, mates!


For more info on The Mercenary Sea, visit the official Image Comics website.

Also, be sure to check out my reviews of the previously released issues of The Mercenary Sea.  (Spoiler: They’re just as good!)

‘The Mercenary Sea #1:’ Advance Comic Book Review (You Can’t Take 1938 from Me)
‘The Mercenary Sea #2:’ Advance Comic Book Review (Rough Waters Ahead . . . )
‘The Mercenary Sea #3:’ Advance Comic Book Review (New Mission and Old Enemies)

Finally, don’t miss writer Kel Symons’ appearance on FBC’s weekly podcast, The Fanboy Scoop: Week in Review. You can listen to or download the episode by clicking here.

That’s all for now, comic book sniffers! In the words of Evelyn Green, I suggest you all pick up a rifle and tally ho!


’Till the end of the world,
Bryant the Comic Book Slayer
@ComicBookSlayer

Last modified on Monday, 24 December 2018 18:11

Bryant Dillon, Fanbase Press President
Favorite Comic BookPreacher by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon
Favorite TV ShowBuffy the Vampire Slayer
Favorite BookThe Beach by Alex Garland
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