Mulan Revelations is one of those stories that mashes up ideas, throws them in a blender, and then sprinkles in a few last ingredients to perfect the taste. Taking place in Shanghai 2125 A.D. the series tells the story of Mulan, a rich girl with ties to her namesake of legend and a supernatural power that runs through her family. It’s cyberpunk, martial arts, magic, and historical legend fused together. If that doesn’t sound appealing to you, it won’t be, because Mulan Revelations delivers precisely on its core premise.
So, for a reader like me who likes all of those things, it was awesome. Artist Micah Kaneshiro (Blackout, Broken Pieces) brings to life these various pieces, making every element fit with one another. The Shanghai backgrounds of the future are busy, packed with flying hover vehicles, giant buildings with glowing neon signs, and the usual suspects of sci-fi cities, and yet, Kaneshiro infuses these designs with the right details to make them unique and eye catching.
Adding to the quality of the art are Kaneshiro’s colors, which are bright and lively, yet much of the world of 2125 A.D. still manages to feel dingy and worn, which is exactly what you want from a cyberpunk setting. The layout on this book is incredible. Using a non-standard layout is often risky, but the angles, circles, and panels within panels of Mulan Revelations adds to the immersion of each scene without sacrificing the reader’s ability to naturally follow the story’s progression from panel to panel.
Writer Marc Andreyko (Batwoman, Manhunter) had the unenviable task of introducing a lot of characters in this first issue, but every one had their moment in the spotlight. Mulan’s brother Lo is your typical screw-up that can’t seem to get his life together. His playful and, at times, overly harsh banter with Mulan made him an instant favorite. The same goes for Mulan’s Uncle Hong, her martial arts instructor and the man who represents the tie back to the old ways and to magic and nature. And yet, the man is a big proponent of machine guns.
The ideas going into the cyberpunk world of Mulan Revelations are all the more impressive, because they’re not so far apart from today. Cybernetics are common but amount to debit card implants, so you’re never without access to your accounts or implants replacing a cell phone, keys, and who knows what else. 3D printing is a cheap, easy tool for the citizens, producing more than just pieces of plastic, but complete outfits. Have an evening out on the town? Print yourself a dress, some heels, and jewelry and discard them all if they’re too inconvenient to pack away. You can always print more later.
I’m not going to give away any of the plot, but I will say in this first issue, Andreyko sets up mysteries a plenty to go along with the tale’s various characters. In the end I’m left with more questions than answers and a mind buzzing with possibilities. Now, none of the ideas behind Mulan Revelations #1 are unique, but the creative team utilizes all of them to their best ability to craft a fun and intriguing book that’s worth checking out.
4.5 Vials of Immortal’s Blood out of Five