ADVANCE REVIEW: The Mercenary Sea #1

The Mercenary Sea Banner

Is this new property really something that eager fanboys and fangirls should bother picking up? Read on to find out.

The official description from Image:


Action and adventure set in 1938—The South Seas. Japan has invaded China. War in Europe is imminent. Ex-bootleger Jack Harper captains The Venture, a refitted German U-Boat, with a crew of expats, mercenaries and treasure hunters. They do whatever it takes to stay afloat, often running up against pirates, headhunters, spies, and soldiers. They’re always one step away from the greatest score of their lives…or their certain demise.

The Mercenary Sea 1_CThere’s a really simple way to sum up this engaging yarn: high adventure. The type of which is usually lost in the mundane anecdotes of the current comic book trend, but here within these pages it thrives. Thanks to the creative team we get a chance to experience something that has the potential to wow as it gives the spotlight to a crew filled with likable players that are all avoiding their past.

Kel Symons handles the words and I found myself instantly engaged by the characters within the text. The first and most natural complaint is going to be that what we get from them is little more than stereotypical representations that fit the story but do nothing to expand on it. That’s fair but I’ll be frank it didn’t matter, because right from the start the pacing caught my eye as the scribe moved everyone toward a proper cliffhanger. More importantly our protagonist, Jack Harper carries a classically inspired persona that holds more depth than what we’re seeing. Which, as it turns out, might just be the right way to view then summarize this outing as the franchise kicks off.

The Mercenary Seas Panel 1

Image Comics has a knack for attracting some inspired pairings when it comes to both new and old franchises. And following a wonderfully built body of text, we get to see what Mathew Reynolds can do. The results took me right back to my youth. And I’ll bet ten people remember the video game Another World, but I do, and that is exactly what the illustrations reminded me of. More so the simplistic designs gave way to nuance and understanding as he employs tactics that were popularized by Darwyne Cooke and mastered by Paul Dini. In short: we’re getting an updated barrage that successfully translates an era that feels aged but not entirely forgotten.

The Mercenary Sea Panel 2

The Mercenary Sea #1 is fun! And as a first entry it does more than enough to garner attention and praise. So by all means, reserve it on your pull-list. Because on February 12th you’ll find yourself flipping through its pages as it comes recommended.



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