Review by: JohnVFerrigno

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Avg Rating: 4.3
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Story by David Liss
Art by Patrick Zircher
Colors by Andy Troy
Letters by Dave Sharpe
Cover by Patrick Zircher

Size: pages
Price: 2.99

When I first heard that Marvel was launching a mini-series that introduced pulp style characters set in the early 1930s, I was cautiously optimistic. I liked the preview art and the concept was a solid one. I eagerly awaited that first issue, and it was the first thing I read when i got my stack home. I really enjoyed it, and the second issue got my enthusiasm for the series reaching new levels. This third issue made me sad. Not because it was a step-back; far from it. The third issue was just as great as the first two. but when I finished the issue, the realization hit me that there are only two more issues to go and then it would be over. this made me a little upset, because Mystery Men is currently my favorite comic Marvel is publishing.

Mystery Men succeeds on practically every level. Each issue introduces the reader to a new character, every one of which is a winner. Patrick Zircher’s character designs are top-notch. Each and every character has a great, pulpy look to them, but not so much so that they seem old fashioned. He manages to perfectly straddle the line between classic looks with a modern feel, to create a timeless look that really jumps off the page. I especially like the look of The Surgeon, one of the two characters introduced in this issue.

Fantastic character designs would mean nothing if the story telling part of the art wasn’t there, but in this department, Zircher delivers just as well. The action is clear and interesting, the layouts are strong and the “shots” are composed with the look of an old Hollywood movie in comics form. Great looking art isn’t enough to keep me enthralled, and luckily Mystery Men has a great story by David Liss to capture the reader. Period pieces are hard to write effectively, as the temptation is there to stray from the realm of realistic portrayals of the time and into corniness. however, Liss never once writes anything that seems hokey or overly old-fashioned. While the story definitely takes place in the 1932 time period, it never feels like it’s trying too hard to shove that in the readers face. This is a 1930s that is realistic, not some romanticized or simplistic stereotyped view of that time period. It’s the 1930s, warts-and-all, and we get both the good and the bad of that time period in Mystery Men.

The story succeeds in crafting an interesting tale filled with original characters that seem like we’ve known them forever. It moves along at a nice pace, keeping the action going and never seeming to just dump information at the reader. While a great deal of information is delivered to flesh out these characters and the world they live in, this is done without ever being boring or slowing down the momentum of the story.

The colorists on comics rarely get their just due, but I want to say that Andy Troy is doing a great job on this series. Some marvel comics have a tendency to look muddy and muddled, but the colors on Mystery Men, while certainly dark, only add to the dark, gritty feel of the world it inhabits, without taking anything away from the beauty of the art.

Mystery Men is everything I want out of a comic book: great characters, interesting stories, beautiful art, and every issue leaves me dying to see what comes next. I’m just upset there are only two more issues of this wonderful series. Hopefully, this mini series will get the attention it deserves and become a hit for Marvel, because I would love to see more adventures with these characters in the future.

Story: 5 - Excellent
Art: 5 - Excellent


  1. I can never get my paragraph breaks to show up in my reviews. Grrrrrr.

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