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‘The Mercenary Sea #5:’ Advance Comic Book Review (Steady on Course)

If you haven’t been following my regular reviews of the first four issues of Image Comics’ The Mercenary Sea by writer Kel Symons and artist Mathew Reynolds, this makes the fifth month in a row that I’m raving about a comic series that doesn’t involve a vampire slayer in some way. I won’t bore my fellow comic book sniffers by reiterating how The Mercenary Sea is one of the most original and atmospheric books on the shelves, or how Reynolds’ bold and unique visuals can go toe to toe with nearly any other sequential art currently out there . . . No, I’ll just quietly inform you that The Mercenary Sea #5 continues the trend established by the issues that proceeded it by upping the stakes, pumping up the action, and being one of the best damn books on my pull list every month!


The Mercenary Sea #5 picks up where Issue #4 left off, following Captain Jack Harper and his crew of mercs as they join forces with British agent Evelyn Greene and the Chinese rebels led by Chen Xie, in order to rescue a group of Chinese women kidnapped by Japanese troops, in order to be used as “comfort women.” Symons writes his most action-packed issue to date (even more so than last issue), depicting a brutal and, frankly, justified assault by our heroes upon the Japanese sex slave camp, executed with a swift and deadly accuracy. While not nearly as long, the battle scene is reminiscent of the military attack Arnie and his crew perpetrate towards the beginning of Predator, where the elite commando squad takes apart an entire enemy base camp, piece by piece, like a well-oiled and terrifyingly destructive machine. Harper and his crew even get a classic, action-movie standard as they walk towards the “camera” with the burning wreckage that was their adversaries burning in the background.

I mentioned in my last review that Symons has knocked it out of the park with the introduction his new badass British bombshell, Evelyn Greene, to the cast, and she continues to “rock on” in this issue. Evelyn’s flirty, yet competitive, dynamic with Jack plays very well in this issue, and while I ate up those delicious scenes featuring our two powerhouse leads, sadly, it does leave less time to further flesh out the rest of Jack’s crew, some of which still feel fairly “unknown” to readers.

Reynolds delivers again in this issue, also consistent as ever, providing another great cover image and another issue full of gorgeous interiors. In the letters column of this issue, Reynolds confesses having a thing for “deep jungle” scenes that play with light, and the opening page of The Mercenary Sea #5 provide a great demonstration of this statement. Reynolds also has an excellent cover in store for next issue, featuring circling sharks, a potential watery grave for The Venture, and a stunning red head (Is Evelyn undergoing a dye job or is Black Widow dropping in?) rescuing Captain Jack from the jaws of death.

FINAL VERDICT: The Mercenary Sea is consistently chock full of great storytelling, intriguing and charismatic characters, and top-notch artwork. I’m totally repeating myself at this point, but, seriously, I can not recommend this title enough. The adventure is taking place right now, my friends, so don’t hesitate to get your hands on these excellent issues!

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!)

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! Jack and Evelyn might be “otherwise occupied,” but I’ll be resurfacing with a review of the next issue in July. Keep an eye out.

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


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