REVIEW: Masks #1

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The Green Hornet, Kato and The Shadow team up to take on the Justice Party, a corrupt political party that has swept New York State by storm. Also, the Spider… More after the jump!

MASKS #1
Writer: Chris Roberson
Artist: Alex Ross
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Editor: Joe Rybandt
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in Masks: Nothing. Brand new mini-series full of cross-over-ness!

TAKE A SHOT EVERY TIME YOU READ THE WORD ‘JUSTICE’

The Justice Party has somehow been miraculously voted into office and, like most political systems, it is rampant with corruption, immediately setting a number of totalitarian laws into affect for the state of New York. The Green Hornet and Kato try to clean up the streets but The Shadow informs them that the real villain here is the very government and laws they’re trying to uphold. The trio attempt to make a stand against the strong-arm of the law but it looks as if they are outnumbered. Then the Spider shows up. But they’re still outnumbered.

Roberson is definitely trying to make a political statement here, but other than ‘dictatorship and corruption is bad’, it’s not clear what that statement is supposed to be. There are a few interesting lines of banter between Britt Reid and Lamont Cranston about the nature of law and justice, whether laws can truly be just because they are created by man, who is fallible, and so on and so forth. It’s an interesting bit of dialogue between two characters that, ultimately, live outside the law as vigilantes.

What really should be the drawing point of this book is the fact that it teams up several iconic masked vigilantes, or that’s what it promises anyway. Sure enough, the Green Hornet, Kato and The Shadow show up, there’s a hint of Zorro making an appearance and the Spider runs in during the last two panels, but that’s about it.

What’s problematic about all this is that everyone is rather clumsily thrown together. The Shadow literally shows up in time to kick Kato in the groin and shoot the perp the duo were attempting to take out. And it’s not an exaggeration that the Spider shows up in the last two panels. He shows up in time to introduce himself and is absorbed into the group. It’s all very clunky and awkward, a lot like the writer didn’t really know how else to introduce the characters and just threw them together, hoping for the best.

Also, expect to read the word ‘justice.’ A lot.

IT’S ALL PAINTED…

The art is beautiful in this book and it really feels like a throwback to the age of radio shows, Dashiell Hammett and film noir. It’s very lovely and impressive that it’s entirely painted by Alex Ross. All of it. Not only are the colors and textures beautiful, but Ross managed to capture the feeling of that era and artfully fit it into twenty-two page book. It’s really pretty to look at.

BOTTOM LINE: WELL, ZORRO AND THE BLACK BAT MIGHT SAVE IT…

I was really excited when I first heard about this book. I thought it was a brilliant concept. With the exception of the art, the book has so far failed to deliver. It may just be because it’s the first issue and I optimistically hope the following issues will outshine this one with the official introduction of Zorro and Black Bat but, so far, it’s not off to a great start.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

DID YOU READ THIS ISSUE? RATE IT!
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