The Mercenary Sea #8 may focus on one small step in Harper’s continuing quest to find Koji Ra, but Symons’ script is, once again, fast paced, thrilling, and charmingly nostalgic in regards to its pulp/action influences. Symons puts Harper and his crew through a number of the adventure serial genre staples (e.g., exploring ancient ruins, seeking treasure in shadowy temples, triggering deadly booby traps, etc.) that a group of tomb raiders might encounter tracking through an exotic island, but instead of feeling “old hat” or boringly derivative, The Mercenary Sea continues to display Symons’ ability to breathe new life into classic concepts and archetypes.
Reynolds’ artwork is as unbelievably stunning as ever in Issue #8, and Symons’ script gives him plenty to play with in this issue, including sweltering jungle-scapes loomed over by an ominous, simmering volcano, as well as a nail-biting, underwater escape that is an excellent demonstration of how Reynolds’ talent for visual storytelling makes the action sequences of The Mercenary Sea work so damn well. Every issue also features an amazing cover by Reynolds of Harper and his team in a moment of unseen, off-page action, and this issue’s gorgeous and moody image continues this trend of awesomeness.
Symons and Reynolds also stuff the stockings for their Mercenary Sea fans this month by offering a holiday-themed mini-adventure for Jack Harper at the end of the issue. In this fun, short, and endearing mission, Harper thwarts jaguars, tarantulas, and croc-infested waters in order to give his crew just a bit of Christmas tradition. It’s an excellent bit of dessert after a delectable main course.
FINAL VERDICT: The talented writer/artist team of Kel Symons and Mathew Reynolds have been among the most consistent and impressive creative forces present at Image Comics throughout 2014, and, as with all of the previous issues of the series, I implore you to snag a copy of The Mercenary Sea #8 as soon as you can (as well as adding The Mercenary Sea to your pull list, if you haven’t done so already). There is also a trade paperback now available collecting the first six issues of the series, so get out there and give yourself one last holiday treat with the purchase of this awesome pulp adventure comic!
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)
‘The Mercenary Sea #4:’ Advance Comic Book Review (Top Hat Is Top Notch!)
‘The Mercenary Sea #5:’ Advance Comic Book Review (Steady on Course)
‘The Mercenary Sea #6:’ Advance Comic Book Review (Just Under the Surface . . . )
‘The Mercenary Sea #7:’ Advance Comic Book Review (Hop Aboard This Series TODAY!)
That’s all for now, comic book sniffers. We’ll rendezvous in the new year, mates.
’Till the end of the world,
Bryant the Comic Book Slayer