(Image Comics, 2014)
Writer: Kel Symons
Art & Colors: Mathew Reynolds
Lettering & Design: Pat Brosseau
The adventures on The South Seas (1938) of Captain Jack Harper and the crew of the Venture continues in The Mercenary Sea #6 when Jack and Evelyn Green, the British secret agent code-named “Top Hat”, are captured by Captain Tono of the Imperial Japanese Navy and held aboard the Mikazuki. With Evelyn taken for interrogation, Jack and his and his men, along with British Intelligence agent Commander Graham, must find a way to escape from the brig as the Venture races to the rescue and becomes locked in combat with the Japanese Destroyer.
The Mercenary Sea #6 wraps up this Image Comics series first story arc in fine style. This is a brilliant issue, written by Kel Symons, featuring stunning artwork by Mathew Reynolds, with superb lettering and design by Pat Brosseau, continues to build on the series great premise, an exciting pulp style adventure set after Japan has invaded China, that charts the tales of Captain Jack Harper and his crew of mercenaries as they embark on dangerous missions to keep the Venture, a refitted German U Boat, operational while her Captain scours the seas with the hope that they might one day discover the legendary treasures of Koji Ra.
Kel Symons ensures the tension builds perfectly in The Mercenary Sea #6 as the Venture closes in on the Mikazuki. Knowing the Venture will be out there somewhere, Jack and his team must devise a way to escape and contact their shipmates. As the action unfolds, Jack races against time to free Evelyn and complete the mission. Captain Tono of the Imperial Japanese Navy is a great enemy for Harper and the Venture’s crew, they’ve run into him before, and he certainly proves to be a worthy adversary over the course of this issue.
With the Mikazuki steaming for Tokyo Bay, time is running out and the Venture wont be able to keep up with them for long. It’s great to see more of the Venture’s crew in action during this issue, even Friday the dog gets a look in, and the simmering chemistry between Jack and Evelyn continues to provide plenty of sparkling banter.
The art for this issue by Matthew Reynolds is as excellent as ever, with its distinct multi-plane layout to the panels, together with the way the focus is often drawn towards the foreground while the background is slightly blurred, ensures the tension and atmosphere is enhanced tenfold, and Reynolds stylish use of color makes every scene seem to come alive on the page. All of the characters and their respective environments are also really well defined, at times its almost feels like you are watching animated film cells rather than turning the pages of a comic book. The underwater scenes look stunning as well, especially when the Venture is stalking the Mikazuki, and the eventual showdown between the two vessels is the undoubted highlight of the issue.
The Mercenary Sea #6 resolves many outstanding plotlines; there are some wonderful character moments, along with an unexpected twist that offers a wealth of possibilities for the series to explore in the future. Kel Symons has excelled himself with this issue, and those amazing final pages by Matthew Reynolds are stunning.
Top Hat, White Lies, and Tales provides an exciting finale to this first story arc. The Mercenary Sea is one of the most enjoyable new titles I’ve had the pleasure of discovering and reviewing this year, Kel Symons, Mathew Reynolds, and Pat Brosseau, have done a superb job bringing us this exciting series of old school style pulp adventures set on the high seas. With its great storylines, attention to detail, interesting mix of character, and striking visuals, I cannot recommend The Mercenary Sea highly enough, and can’t wait to see what Kel Symons, Mathew Reynolds, and Pat Brosseau have in store for Captain Jack Harper and his crew’s next adventure when the series returns in November.
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.