March First Issue Madness - - March 13, 2011 = The Mission
THE MISSION #1 (Image Comics, February 2011 ) Jon Hoeber + Erich Hoeber, writers. Werther Dell’Edera, artist. Arianna Florean, color artist. Dave Sharpe, letterer.
THE MISSION poses the question: Could anyone kill another person for a good reason? For the right reasons? Would anyone kill if it meant saving their family? Saving themselves?
I’ve encountered several variations on this theme in other stories before. An ordinary person is suddenly asked to do the extra-ordinary = to perform a task out of their comfort zone and often in direct violation of their own principles and values. They’ve been enlisted or forced into service to a higher power. They are asked to accept their mission without benefit of explanation because it involves gods or demons. They feel as if they refuse they will disrupt the balance between chaos and order, or something equally dreadful will happen as a consequence. It’s in the telling of the story that separates the original variation on this theme from the mediocre or derivative. I can’t tell just from this first issue which of those two pertain to THE MISSION. I certainly like the way it’s presented here . The story involves the reader from the beginning and the pacing is very good. I like what I see it and think this book promises even more. Time will tell.
SPOILER ALERT: I’m going to give a little more detail about this book and try not to elaborate too much on some of its major points and plot threads. If you prefer to be surprised when you read it, then just go out and pick up the first issue and make your own judgment.
Middle-aged business man Paul Haskell has a good job, a loving family, and his physician has just pronounced him in good health. As he departs the doctors office and enters a parking garage he is confronted by Gabriel, who prefers to be called Gabe. This is not a towering angel glowing with spirituality and bearing a flaming sword. It’s a swarthy old man in a pullover holding an outdoor lantern. He informs Paul that he’s been selected for a mission and hands him an envelope bearing his assignment. Paul doesn’t take him seriously.
The next day when Gabe confronts Paul at an outdoor cafe, things get more serious and Paul suddenly receives some different news from the family doctor. He’s more annoyed than he is frightened and still doesn’t completely accept what Gabe is telling him. That night he has a vivid nightmare that causes him to get up and read the contents of the envelope.
The next day he observes and follows his target, trying to figure out what this person may have done to merit execution. At the last minute, Paul decides to abandon the mission and this has fatal and bloody consequences – but not for Paul. He’s left to tearfully contemplate what has occurred as a result of his decisions as the issue ends. It’s a very powerful ending.
The art is very well done, and expressive without going over the top or being flashy. It’s very good in a subtle way that you don’t notice unless you go back and read it a second time.