Nollwen feeds from one young man – and marries another. Can she and Goodwill escape from town before Gloria’s hunters catch up with them again? Find out in Mirka Andolfo’s Mercy #5 from Image Comics!

Mirka Andolfo's Mercy #5MIRKA ANDOLFO’S MERCY #5

Writer: Mirka Andolfo
Artist: Mirka Andolfo
Letterer: Fabio Amelia
Editor: Diego Malara
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: August 26, 2020

Previously in Mirka Andolfo’s Mercy: Lady Swanson’s hunters have been tracking the alien creatures, which leads them back to Woodsborough. They capture Goodwill as bait for Lady Hellaine, but also for his sprouts which they eat, to make themselves stronger, and use to coat their bullets, so they can injure the creatures. Hellaine, desperate to feed, can no longer resist the trusting little girl, Rory, but as she prepares, she makes a connection with another of her race who has broken free from the group and who doesn’t want to leave the human world.

JUST TRYING TO GO HOME

Mirka Andolfo’s Mercy #5 opens with a flashback to the past, someone who recalls that the Swansons are involved with some secret experiments, abducting homeless people and prostitutes to do so. They’re plainly doing something involving the aliens – and a pregnant woman. I kind of get where this is going, but between people not mentioning names very frequently and the fact that the aliens can take over human bodies, it can be challenging to keep track of who everyone is. The scene cuts to Jonathan with one of the aliens (possibly Hellaine?) but this time appearing as a dark-haired young woman, and she is feeding from him.

The hunters tell Gloria that Nollwen Hellaine is one of the aliens. Gloria is appalled that she hosted the creature in her own home. She would be even more appalled to know that at that very moment, Nollwen is being very intimate with Gloria’s son, Gregor, who asks her to marry him.

Goodwill is still alive, and we learn that the aliens are trying to buy the mine. Rory, still with him, asks him why he got so angry at the mine. Instead, he lashes out at Rory. Hellaine was under his guidance and things were going well. Then this little girl showing up, insisting Hellaine is her mother, and disrupts all his plans. He spares her life only because Hellaine has asked him to.

A fire at the brothel distracts Lady Swanson. As she wakes her children to get them out of town, she finds Gregor with Nollwen. Gloria tries to talk her son away from the alien, but he won’t leave her and Nollwen talks to her in words that, on the surface sound reassuring, but Gloria sees the tentacles. The voice in Nollwen’s head of the other alien chimes in, reminding her that Gloria clearly had a conscience about the experiments, but she never stepped up to do anything about them.

Nollwen and Gregor wake a priest up immediately in order to get married. Goodwill arrives, not to stop the wedding, but to reassure Hellaine that soon, if she plays her part correctly, they will finally be able to go home. After the ceremony, they ride off, with Rory as well, and are attacked by one of the hunters.

BLOOD SWIRLING AGAINST THE SNOW

As Mirka Andolfo’s Mercy #5 progresses, we learn that there is so much more to the back story than either a tragic mine accident or a mine explosion set to hide the existence of monsters. Lady Swanson and her husband were deeply involved and have known about the aliens for a long time. We finally see Gloria Swanson starting to fall apart. She is desperate and unkempt. She looks like she hasn’t slept in a week. She is as much the mother protecting her children as she is a madwoman bent on some feverish revenge and the continued desire to keep her secrets hidden.

I like the distinctive lettering for the aliens, especially the alien who is in Hellaine’s head. There are a few passages where a couple people are talking and another person is thinking. Those are very clearly set off. This is an intricate story, and it uses so many ways to tie different threads together or juxtapose them against each other.

BOTTOM LINE: WHO IS THE MONSTER?

Mirka Andolfo’s Mercy #5 is full of complicated characters. The obvious monsters turn out to also have been victims, but does it make them any more sympathetic? It is even more interesting to find them being affected simply by being around humans for so long.


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Mercy #5

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More to the Back Story

Goodwill uses Nollwen Hellaine to try to gain control of the mine.

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About Author

By day, she’s a mild-mannered bureaucrat and Ms. Know-It-All. By night, she’s a dance teacher and RPG player (although admittedly not on the same nights). On the weekends, she may be found judging Magic, playing Guild Wars 2 (badly), or following other creative pursuits. Holy Lack of Copious Free Time, Batman! While she’s always wished she had teleportation as her superpower, she suspects that super-speed would be much more practical because then she’d have time to finish up those steampunk costumes she’s also working on.

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