Tomorrow–comic book Wednesday–Dynamite Comics launches one of its biggest events of the year, Issue #1 of the new mini-series Masks, with story by Chris Roberson and painted art by Alex Ross. We’ve previewed Issue #1 and readers are in for a beautiful book, featuring a stellar mash-up team of some of Dynamite Comics’ best licensed characters: Green Hornet, Kato, The Shadow and Spider, with even a nod to The Lone Ranger.
A new group of leaders called the Justice Party has taken over New York, and their rule includes the creation of a dark, masked police force. Unlike a typical change in power, this new government is run by mobsters and thugs, swiping people off the street and throwing them in jail simply because the new police force has a quota, with no attention to actual justice. Our classic heroes enter the picture, now on the other side of the law, fighting for true justice, and hardly no time passes by before their mantra is uttered at some bad guys: Crime Does Not Pay.
Ross’s rendering of the Shadow’s gun blasts straight toward the reader is perfection. You can almost feel the heat from the guns. And unlike some other artists, Ross’s skill at creating recognizable characters is one of his strengths–his skill is tested here by showing the Shadow in and out of costume, and he passes the test with flying colors. There is just no question who you are looking at from page to page. Background characters look more like classic character actors in a 1930s–1950s era film. Roberson and Ross use a nice tool to convery the era, the old March of Time newsreels, and you can almost hear the sound of the film flapping on the movie projector in the pages of this book. In only a few frames a woman named Ms. Lane is able to establish her attitude.
Masks is also full of style and great color work, thanks to Ross’s incredible angles, subject choices, and color selections. From brick work on buildings, to details in a period dinner club, to the shiny jewel on a ring, to pre-World War II cars, Ross’s pages do not disappoint.
Roberson’s story throws readers in the middle of something big. Even if you have no history with these characters they are exciting to see. Issue #1 is definitely a must-read so ask your comic book store owner to hold you a copy today. Masks is slated for eight monthly issues.