Review - Mercy #1 (@imagecomics)

"Is that...snow? So soon?"

Life in olden times was pretty tough. A lot of that had to do with an uncertainty surrounding unexplained events and such events in Mercy #1 from Image Comics make for a great story. The issue is written and illustrated by Mirka Andolfo (color assists by Gianluca Papi) and lettered by Fabio Amelia.

When the placid mining village of Woodsburgh is disturbed by a series of brutal murders, the settlement is in turmoil. And as the first snow covers the chaos in a white blanket, a mysterious woman in black arrives, eliciting a totally different kind of unrest. But who is Lady Hellaine, really? And what’s her secret agenda?

Andolfo is very much focused on establishing the world the players find themselves in with Mercy #1. Lady Hellaine is probably the most mysterious of the characters and Andolfo channels a lot of the eeriness through her personality and general demeanor. The reader gets the sense that there's very much something strange about Woodsburgh, WA--in particular, Lady Swanson is a woman struggling to make peace with the terrible events of her past. Both of the leading ladies are stark contrasts to one another, but Andolfo uses that to the advantage of the book in providing what are essentially representations of both good and evil. There's a pervasive sense of horrible dread throughout the issue that serves the story well, allowing Andolfo to keep a somewhat uneasy tension running throughout the issue.

Andolfo also handles the artwork on the book and her renderings are very stylized. Andolfo emphasizes the characters with very thin and angular linework that gives the reader the impression that this is a well-thought world. Andolfo manages to blend together a sense of Victorian fashion in a world that is peppered with small towns and even smaller communities. The older setting lends itself well to the sense of terror in that it infuses the issue with a further sense of dread as a result of the seemingly detached nature of the civilization included. The colors are darker, with Andolfo and Papi doing well in contrasting the night in the village with the white snow.

There are a lot of comparisons of the book to Penny Dreadful and rightfully so--the underlying horror of the story is presented in that style. The characters throughout the issue are well-conceived and mesh well with one another. Andolfo's script is methodical and in-depth, providing ample context for the story as it unfolds further. Andolfo's artwork is a very attractive match to the script as it provides a perfect level of dread for the events to unfold. Mercy #1 is a book that may be short on its namesake, but long on plenty of other horrors.

Mercy #1 is available now.