Paul Haskell is a man caught up in a war between good and evil, tasked to kill a man for reasons he does not understand. What will he do? Find out after the jump!
Previously, in The Mission: Paul Haskell is an average man, suddenly recruited to serve in a war between good and evil. Approached by a man named Gabe, Paul is told to kill one Neal Corman, and if he doesn’t, he may die. Paul cannot quite go through with it, however, and as a consequence Corman ends up killing several people.
This issue begins with Paul getting a grilling from Gabe, and he is once again tasked with killing Corman. Paul asks for a gun, and obtains it in a roundabout way (from a man who was attempting to mug him) and thus sets about finding Corman. Paul tracks him down to a seedy motel, wherein he discovers that Corman is obviously rather insane. Some words are exchanged, Corman takes his own life, and Paul is left to reflect on his successful mission.
I am sad to say that, whilst this issue is competently crafted, the word I feel best describes it is ‘bland’. For starters, the plot is very simple: Paul is told to kill Corman again, Paul tracks Corman, and Paul confronts Corman. This could have worked, if the issue was better-paced; as it is, events just happen at something like a constant rate, and so there’s no build up to the finale and so said finale, and thus the resolution of these first two issues, doesn’t feel satisfying. At the end of this issue, I didn’t feel as if anything of real significance had taken place, yet I should have, and was obviously meant to. This is the book’s biggest problem and why, in my mind, it can never be considered to be anything but average, despite the pleasant art, convincing dialogue, and clever premise – the events of the book quite simply carry no significance with them, and I thus failed to care about them or the characters involved in them.
It is worth mentioning, though, that the premise is clever, or at the very least interesting, and the dialogue is convincing. Some of the dialogue in the seedy motel seems rather gratuitous and unnecessary to my mind – I do not see how the prostitute in this seen added anything, for instance – but overall the characters seemed real enough and Paul himself is a reasonably well-written character so far. As for the premise, I find it interesting, but unfortunately an interesting premise is not enough to carry an entire issue.
Art that Saves the Book
The art is not nearly subject to such deep flaws and, indeed, was rather good all-round. It opts for a style that does not aim for photo-realism but is also not so stylised as to be off-putting. The colouring is also very good, always retaining a brightness in itself, and it really helps to create art that is by far the best thing about this book, even if Paul’s hairdo looks a bit off to me.
The cover, the artist of which is uncredited as far as I can see, features Paul in the middle of drawing his gun, turning to face some thing that casts the shadow of an angel. This cover does, indeed, inform the audience of the premise of the book, and that is more than some do, but it doesn’t really give any clues as to the contents of this particular issue. It is not badly drawn, either, but overall it appears unstriking, and I fear that it is coloured in such a way that will not make it stand out on the rack. Praise must go to the fact that they got creative with the title’s font and the book’s logo, though, as so many titles do not.
A Decent Read, but Never Better than Average
The subtitle for this section says it all, really: this isn’t a bad book, and if you want an OK, if altogether bland, read with some good art then this may be worth picking up, but quite honestly there are books far more deserving of your attention and money, and in a market where genuinely good titles are, at times, struggling, I can’t in good conscience recommend something as average as this. As such it receives two and a half stars out of five.