By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Dark Horse Comics
Released Oct 16, 2019
I’ve been a fan of Dark Horse Comics’ The Mask way before the movies and cartoons. While these alternative takes were fun and light-hearted, I missed the darker quality which existed in the comic books. I kept up when it was shuffled to Mayhem–back when this franchise’s future was in doubt. When other versions took precedence (and the publisher had crossovers, including with a certain clown prince of crime), I took a break.
I’ve been wanting to see this franchise return to its roots and “I Pledge Allegiance” serves up a lot of blood and vindictiveness. This latest chapter can not be any timelier due to the political climate of our times. I’m also amused the first issue is coming off the heels of the just as socially charged The Joker movie.
Part of the reason for this series success is on how the average joe fends for himself against others of a bullying kind. The Mask allowed its wearers to express their darkest desires. The looney tunes style bloodshed kept the work separate from reality and this latest chapter keeps up with this idea. Here, it seems more people know of this weapon of destruction and they want it just as fervently as Adolf Hitler was chasing after the Lost Ark of the Covenant.
Christopher Cantwell, Patric Reynolds, Lee Loughridge and Nate Piekos are a terrific team to bring the edginess back. Reynold’s diluted watercolour style suits the atmosphere well,, and Cantwell’s story picks up after the original comic series than consider all the decades of canon and non canonical material. When a new presidential hopeful finds Loki’s mask, trouble will no doubt ensue, and readers will be in for a ride! When the FBI will no doubt have their hands tied and the CIA–it’s hard to say if they know about this relic of power. I’d be more worried if there’s more than one! I’m uncertain in how many issues this series will be. If it’s ongoing, I’ll be interested in how Cantwell is going to keep the pacing as strong as it is. The first few pages are not your typical setup, and gets in medias res quite fast.
Issue #2 is set for November 20, 2019 release.