When we last left our crime-fighting duo, the Red Panda (a.k.a. millionaire gadabout town August Fenwick) had just received a warning from his old ally, The Stranger, about dark forces gathering that signal nothing less than the end of the world. Meanwhile, his spunky sidekick, the Flying Squirrel (a.k.a. his driver, Kit Baxter) has tracked a pack of magic-eating demon rats called the V’rahill to an abandoned warehouse . . . and a trap.
Monkeybrain Comics’ second issue of Mask of the Red Panda will hit the stands on March 27th and continues to amaze and delight readers with its vintage feel and sensibilities.
Calling his arsenal of scientific and mystical tools into play, the Red Panda helps Kit escape, but not before she tells him that she’s managed to capture two of the creatures with her specially-treated, magic-resistant alloy nets.
While dissecting their find, Fenwick fills in Kit on the stakes they’re dealing with. Emil Baxter (killed in Issue #1) was an archivist for The Council of Mages, working with some of the world’s most dangerous ancient magics. But, Baxter may have been stealing objects from the council before his death, and dark forces have conspired to find them . . . and put them to nefarious use.
I mentioned the vintage feel and sensibilities before, and just want to point out what a great strength they are in these books. The flavor of these stories is so strong and unique, but still naturalistic, that a reader might feel they’ve dropped into the world of Michael Chabon’s Kavalier and Clay. In a time when the majors are putting their star characters through years of dark drama and psychological angst, Red Panda maintains a refreshing playfulness and charm that guarantees a fun time. Even during Kit’s 3-page beat-down of a hiding witness, the Panda’s bemused expression tells us that all will be well (for the moment). Taylor’s story still plays on a sense of innocence in an exaggerated situation.
Will the Red Panda and the Flying Squirrel discover the missing artifacts? Who is the mysterious, dark-coated intruder? Can Dr. Chronopolis’ inventions help save the day? And, will the Fenwick ever realize that Kit is in love with him? With only one issue left in this arc, we can only wait and see . . . Hopefully, the adventures of the Red Panda in comic form will not end with that.
And, check out www.decoderringtheatre.com for more adventures of the Red Panda!