(Image Comics, 2014)
Writer: Kel Symons
Art & Colors: Mathew Reynolds
Lettering & Design: Pat Brosseau
The adventures of Captain Jack Harper and the crew of the Venture continue in The Mercenary Sea #5 as their mission leads them deep into enemy territory. Having rescued Evelyn Green, the British secret agent code-named “Top Hat” from Japanese soldiers, Jack and his men, along with British Intelligence agent Commander Graham, joined forced with a group of Chinese soldiers holding out in the jungle - a band of KMT nationalises and communist troops led by the courageous Chen Xie. Working with the Chinese guerrillas, Jack and his crew set out to rescue the wives of the village fishermen kidnapped by the Japanese soldiers and held captive as “comfort-women” in the IJA depot at Baipenzhu.
“March of the Grenadiers” is another excellent issue, written by Kel Symons, featuring incredible art by Mathew Reynolds, with lettering and design by Pat Brosseau. The Mercenary Sea has an exciting pulp adventure format, set in The South Seas (1938) after Japan has invaded China, which follows Captain Jack Harker and his crew as they search for treasure and take on dangerous missions to keep the Venture, a refitted German U Boat, seaworthy. Kel Symons has crafted a great premise for this series, the attention to detail and the setting is superb, and the wealth of colourful characters, together with Reynolds art, ensures that this Image Comics series really stands out from the crowd on new comic book day.
The Mercenary Sea #5 picks up directly from last issue, as we follow Jack and his team, together with their new allies, moving in to attack The Imperial Japanese army depot at Baipenzhu under the cover of darkness. This is one of the most action packed issues written so far by Symons, as we follow the attack on IJA depot. From the tense, stealthy build up, the brilliantly choreographed battle sequences which follow once everyone has moved into position quickly propels your right into the heart to the action.
With the addition of the British secret agent, Evelyn Green, last issue, Symons continues to reveal more about this great new character. I also really like the simmering chemistry and banter between Evelyn and Jack, it’s a really fun dynamic, and this ex-bootlegger and blonde bombshell certainly make a great team.
Mathew Reynolds artwork for The Mercenary Sea is simply breathtaking. Reynolds unique style makes this title an absolute joy to read, with his clever use of perspective and silhouette, he effortlessly captures the tone and mood of the story and you will soon find yourself immersed in the action as it unfolds on the page. The colors are also stunningly effective, as is the uncanny film-cell quality of every panel. The stylistic lettering and design by Pat Brosseau also brings an added level of realism to every scene, with the stunning jungle settings, where light gently filters in through the deep shadows, through to the huge explosions and rapid gunfire during the brilliantly staged attack on IJA depot, The Mercenary Sea #5 is a great looking book, and the cover for this issue is another real stunner as well.
The Mercenary Sea #5 sees Jack and his crew take part in one of their most dangerous mission so far. The action hardly lets up for a moment, there are some really great scene between Jack and Evelyn, another clue to the mythical legend of Koji Ra is discovered, and the exciting final moments will have you counting down the days until the next issue. The Mercenary Sea is a terrific series. Kel Symons, Mathew Reynolds, and Pat Brosseau, have created one of the most original, entertaining and visually impressive comics around. Highly recommended!
Paul Bowler is a self-Confessed Sci-Fi Geek, Doctor Who fan, and Zombie Disposal Expert. He likes movies, comic books, and all things PS3. He likes to write about his interests, would love to write a novel one day, and also enjoys chatting to the many people he has gotten to know on Twitter. When he’s not busy being an Impossible Astronaut, he likes to take a break from his adventures in time and space to enjoy some of his favourite tv shows and movies – preferably with a nice cuppa tea & a sandwich! You can follow him on Twitter @paul_bowler, or find him at his website, Sci-Fi Jubilee.