Before men of fire, and of the sea took to air to battle, there were heroes that slinked through the night. Mystery Men delves into the lesser known facets of the Marvel Universe, but does this pulp inspired canonical tale entertain? Or should it be pulped lickity split?

Mystery Men #1 (of 5)
Writer: David Liss
Artist: Patrick Zircher
Colors: Andy Troy
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Cover: Patrick Zircher and Andy Troy
Editor: Bill Rosemann
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Story Pages: 22
Cover Price: $2.99 USD

Previously, in Mystery Men: (This has nothing to do with the comic turned movie “Mysterymen” by Bob Burden) If you have read Ed Brubaker’s “The Marvel’s Project” then that could be interpreted as a spiritual primer to this comic.


Robbery. Murder. All is found in Depression era New York City, as a masked man known only as “The Operative” has been blamed for a crime he didn’t commit. He has to unravel the mystery that has ensnarled him, and utilize the assistance of the equally mysterious “Revenant.”

The evocation of the Pulp Era is dead on. But this could easily be separate from the Marvel Universe, and hardly anything in this issue gives any hint that it’s apart of Marvel’s established continuity, save for the Daily Bugle newspaper. That really didn’t bother me, and overall I liked that the story and environment stood on its own, and didn’t need to be propped up by a guest appearance or two.

The story was not as enthralling as I hoped, but it’s a first issue, so I gave it a little leeway. It’s a slow burner, and as the mystery unfolds, I have no cause for concern that the story won’t pull me in like quicksand. As for our lead protagonist, “The Operative”, he is like a “Robin Hood” of sorts, but doesn’t really have that much charisma, unlike the others in the issue. I was more drawn towards “The Revenant” (the gentleman in the “Review” image above), who in my opinion, stole the issue.


If this comic was in black and white, with grayscale I think I would have loved it even more, but alas it was not, so I had to live with what was given. The characters in this comic are very striking visually, and that especially includes that antagonists as well. The lines are very heavy in this comic, almost to the extent that it looks like it was inked with a big fat Sharpie.

Though shadows are prevalent in this comic, the end result isn’t muddied, which could have so easily been the case. The scenes of action are well executed, and for the most part the visual pacing from one panel to the other held my attention. Though the cover left much to be desired, since you can barely make out who, and what are on it. I can chalk that up to the title alone. It’s a mystery after all.


Even though the main character didn’t really hook me, I was still able to have fun with this issue. The story, the characterization, and the artwork were a great start to something that I feel will unfold like a beautiful flower.

If you liked DC Comic’s “First Wave” line of books, “The Marvels Project”, or Pulp/Noir storytelling, you will probably like this comic. In closing, Mystery Men #1 (of 5) receives 3.5 Stars, out of 5.

Rating: ★★★½☆


About Author

It is hard being a King, especially when your first name is Larry. Well, not really. In Larry’s Kingdom the re-imagining “Battlestar Galactica” is superior, “The Wire” is the greatest crime show ever, and “ROM, Spaceknight” is the hero of the realm.


  1. I must admit that I had to look up the definition of “Revenant” after I reviewed this. I had never heard that name before but it and the character have a uniqueness for the time-period portrayed. I agree that that character stole the show thus far.

    As a long-time pulp fan this is one of the few Marvel Comics that I see myself following regularly (at least until they decide to “relaunch” their entire continuity again and bring back Johnny Storm and Janet Van Dyne.)

  2. Bought it. Read it. Liked it. Ready for more. As long as we don’t see Magneto fighting Apocolypse, I’m good.

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