Someone is committing violent murders and Mysterious Ways asks for you to follow along and guess the outcome of the journey? At stake is a contest that can earn you free Top Cow comics for a year. Is this book worth the investment? Take the jump and find out!

Title: Mysterious Ways
Writer: Jason Rubin
Penciller: Tyler Kirkham
Inker: Sal Regla
Colors: Arif Prianto
Letters: Troy Peteri
Publisher: Top Cow via Image Comics
Price: $3.99

Way back in the day, not only did we walk to school uphill through 14 inches of snow, but the comic book industry was about 2000% more robust than it is in 2011. In the early 90s, Image Comics was in its prime and it was not uncommon for their books to ship well over 1,000,000 units. This comic would not be out of place circa 1993. However, in today’s marketplace, I am reasonably certain that issue #2 of this comic will not break the 5,000-unit barrier. The reason? Because it’s not very good.
Top Cow is certainly giving this book a strong promotional push. During the course of this 6-issue mini-series, readers are asked to predict the story developments. 1 individual who gives the closest description to the actual ending will win every published Top Cow book during the next 12 months. Unfortunately, a clever marketing ploy does not compensate for an overpriced and generally inferior comic book.

Two Dimensional Characterization Would Be An Upgrade

See if any of these character tropes seem vaguely paint-by-numbers to you? An ex-cop has just been released from prison after serving time for a vaguely explained violent act against a criminal. He’s now a homeless, socially maladjusted alcoholic who has a painfully strained relationship with his ex. Character development comes through brooding, drinking and cursing. It seems another murder has taken place and our protagonist, the ex-cop is the main suspect. Finally, the supernatural element is hinted at in the form of a mysterious pendant that he has somehow acquired. It seems to have healed a rather serious wound of his in a miraculous amount of time. Lasting questions we’re left with are:
1) Is our ex-cop a bad guy?
2) Is the pendant/trinket enchanted?
3) Why would I pay $3.99 for this?

1993, Where For Art Thou?

The story and dialogue are bad, so how’s the art? Tyler Kirkham has drawn plenty of fine-looking comics. No, this is not one of them. Instead we have a juxtaposition of styles, all drawing from some of the least-attractive stylistic crutches from each artistic inspiration. Tons of cross-hatching seems to draw inspiration from the work of David Finch. Some of the exaggerated body design has a strong Todd McFarlane influence. Much of the perspective and depth of field is off and the main penciling influence that comes to my mind is Stephen Platt. Like I said, this book belongs in the early to mid ‘90s.

Bottom Line: Save Your $3.99

Image has produced some stellar new series over the past year. Many have gone on to become critical darlings and have managed to garner decent monthly sales. They can’t all be winners and Mysterious Ways is a very expensive $3.99 reminder of that adage. Mysterious Ways earns 2 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

 

The Author

Mike McLarty

Mike McLarty

A San Diego native, Mike has comics in his blood and has attended the San Diego Comic Con every year since 1982. His comic interests are as varied as his crimes against humanity, but he tends to lean heavily towards things rooted in dystopian themes. His favorite comic series is Warren Ellis’ and Darick Robertson’s Transmetropolitan. Spider Jerusalem is the best character ever devised. Mike realizes those statements will alienate a good portion of his potential audience, but those are the facts. You are unlikely to find a single collector with a better Transmetropolitan art portfolio than the one he has in his possession. He is an Assistant Editor for the upcoming Transmetropolitan Charity Book.

He also occasionally freelances for various other comics websites, which he promotes through his homepage (www.comickarma.com), Twitter and other inherently intrusive forms of social media. Mike firmly believes that the best writers come from the UK. This could be because he’s of Irish descent; not so much based on physical geography as the fact that the Irish like to drink heavily.

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