Do we really need another round of Masks? Or will this prove that pulp isn’t dead? Read on to find out.
The official description from Dynamite:
The Shadow. The Green Hornet and Kato. Black Terror. These are just a few masked vigilantes drawn into a mystery that spans the decades – a plot that threatens our society again and again. With the devastating power to kill thousands of people in a matter of seconds, the Red Death is a villain who may be impossible to stop. It will take more than a dozen masked heroes from three different time periods to stop this madwoman from bringing the world to its knees!
If I’m being honest, I initially questioned whether Dynamite‘s decision to make a second volume of Masks was smart, as though the first one had some amazing moments, it was a little hit or miss at times. Luckily Masks 2 appears to have acknowledged the problems of it’s predecessor, as though this is only the first issue in an eight part mini, it’s quickly proving to be vastly superior. Wasting no time in introducing us to the characters involved, this opening issue is full of action, with the different brands of justice clashing in a very dramatic fashion.
Cullen Bunn is the writer behind this series, with the Magneto and Sinestro scribe taking over from Chris Roberson in bringing us this massive pulp team-up. Delivering a sleek, fluid series of events, Bunn quickly grabs the attention of this reader, with the over the top action reminding me of the classic pulp films from the 80’s. That being said, it’s the storytelling skills that shine the most, as whether it’s the conflicting viewpoint within the Masks, or mystery behind the villains, it results in some dynamic moments. Despite this, I did find the villains, and scenario to be a little cliché, but this wasn’t entirely a bad thing.
The artwork on this comic was nothing short of phenomenal, with Eman Casallos‘ magnificent pencils and sharp inkwork astounding at every corner. It is on the other hand the layouts that really impress, with the way the artist fits the numerous characters, and explosive action into these panels, without it ever feeling overcrowded, astounding. He also manages to give a dark, yet vivid texture to this pulp world, and along with Adriano Augusto‘s intense colours, this helps these visuals to really stand out.
Masks 2 #1 was way better than I anticipated, as though the first volume was an overall success, it took a lot longer to capitalise on it’s potential. Having wonderful action, and intense character interaction, this opening issue embodies what pulp stands for, with the villainous skull masked group being an intriguing foe for these classic characters.