Fresh off of the electric buzz of spoilers, trailers, and announcements that is San Diego Comic-Con drops the next excellent chapter of Image Comics’ standout series, The Mercenary Sea. Writer Kel Symons and artist Mathew Reynolds continue to raise the bar with each new issue, and The Mercenary Sea #6 not only wraps up the creative team’s first arc on the book, but pops off with the exact mix of maximum high-adventure, action, charm, and romance that readers have to come to expect from this exceptional and exhilarating comic book!
MINOR SPOILERS BELOW
The Mercenary Sea #6 finds a good chunk of the crew of the Venture (formerly the Tiger Shark, of the Republic of China Navy) taken prisoner onboard the Japanese destroyer known as The Mikazuki. Playing out like a perfectly balanced mid-season finale, The Mercenary Sea #6 doesn’t hold back, featuring some pulse-pounding submarine action, a daring rescue plan, and revealing the romantic tensions between Captain Jack Harper, the breathtaking British agent Evelyn Greene, and the Venture’s mechanic and “girl-next-door” Sam. (Got to love a classic love triangle.) The reveal in the final pages of a potential traitor among our rag-tag bunch of heroes also provides a perfect, climatic twist and guarantees readers will be eager for the series to “resurface” in November.
So, will Symons’ scripts just continue to consistently improve and build upon one another? I can’t say, but I’m not going to complain as long as it continues to happen. Now, six issues in, it’s clear how gifted a writer Symons is and how masterfully his pacing and use of the ensemble of characters truly is. Symons manages to wrap up the first arc of The Mercenary Sea with action that feels big and cinematic enough to be a worthy, temporary conclusion, and still manages to find time for the readers to spend with some lesser-explored members of the Venture’s crew. Symons and Reynolds are also getting really, really good at depicting exciting submarine action in sequential art form. It’s surprising how well a comic book sub drama works in their hands, but it feels fresh and adrenaline-infused, feeding me the same excitement that the original Star Wars films used every time the Millennium Falcon would engage a Star Destroyer or a pack of TIE fighters.
Reynolds keeps pace with Symons this issue, as before, and that pretty much means he nails every single panel. Symons has a once-in-a-lifetime co-pilot in Reynolds, and whether he’s depicting an awesome, shark-infested cover or a breathtaking first page, the man never fails to deliver. I have to imagine there are great things in store for the comic industry in the future of Reynolds’ career, but, for now, I just want to lower the periscope and make sure this unbelievable artist enlists for at least three tours aboard this ship (even if mercenaries aren’t that fond of enlistment).
FINAL VERDICT: The Mercenary Sea is the best comic series that you’re not reading yet (Can you fix that already?), and in a company that has become saturated with sci-fi due to the success of Saga (Not a bad thing, necessarily. I love Saga and sci-fi.), this book stands out like no other. Do yourself a favor: grab any single issues you can and be sure to keep an eye on your radar for the upcoming trade paperback, which will be sounding soon.
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)
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! As Evelyn would say, “The way things are shaping up, I have a feeling we’ll be back this way soon.”
’Till the end of the world,
Bryant the Comic Book Slayer