Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Review - Mulan: Revelations #1

"Hell is empty..."

Being a great warrior requires quite a few traits--most of which can be taught. There are some traits, such as courage and leadership, that can't be taught and require finding the right individual. Sometimes, you have to reach pretty far back for said individual, as in Mulan: Revelations #1 from Dark Horse Comics. The issue is written by Marc Andreyko, illustrated by Micah Kaneshiro and lettered by Nate Piekos.

Though the future boasts endless technological wonders, only a very few can afford access to them. As a new virus rages through the rich and poor, threatening all of humanity, a warrior is awakened to stop the evil puppeteers behind it all. Centuries after her ancestor and namesake fought for China, a new Mulan has been chosen by the ancient Chinese immortals in a final battle for the world.

Before she was made a Disney princess, Mulan was actually a feared warrior in China centuries ago. It's that version Andreyko (and creator Robert Alter) are drawing upon for Mulan: Revelations #1, offering up a version of Mulan whose equal parts combat-ready and genuinely thoughtful. Her character is presented a sharp foil to that of the evil corporation seeking to capitalize on the sickness ravaging the world and the dichotomy works pretty well. Andreyko moves the reader through the first issue at a very even pace, eschewing jumping the gun on any aspects of establishing Mulan as a character for a quick payoff. There's a broader story being established in Mulan: Revelations #1 and the first issue features a lot of sound groundwork being laid by Andreyko.

The look of Mulan: Revelations #1 boasts an almost ethereal quality. Kaneshiro's approach looks and feels painted, which adds that level of airiness to the illustrations and harkens back to a different era of art. The past scenes feel gritty and more complete, while Kaneshiro fills the future scenes with much more of a sleekness. Characters lack detail in a way that emphasizes a simplicity in their appearance, something which Kaneshiro does to great effect. The lack of outlines on many character renderings further blurs the line between characters and backgrounds, furthering a relatively quaint and simple aesthetic.

Mulan: Revelations #1 is a fascinating new take on a somewhat familiar character. Mulan is being prepped to go up against a seemingly unstoppable foe, which will bring to light many interesting dynamics that will oppose one another. Andreyko's script in the first issue feels solid and does enough to hook the reader. Kaneshiro's art is light and provide a unique lens for viewing the conflict unfold in varying eras of time. Mulan: Revelations #1 could go to some really interesting places as the book progresses and here's hoping it maintains its commitment to broader social issues as a theme.

Mulan: Revelations #1 is in stores June 24.


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