THE MISSION #2 (Image Comics, March 2011) Jon Hoeber & Erich Hoeber, Writers. Werther Dell’Edera, Artist. Arianna Florean, Color Artist. Dave Sharpe, Letterer.
In my March 13th review of THE MISSION #1, I commented that the story covered some familiar themes in fantasy/horror fiction and the telling of the tale would determine if this was an original variation on those themes or just another mediocre or derivative version. After reading THE MISSION #2, I’m happy to report that this delivers the goods. It’s captivating and a little frightening/eerie. It holds the attention. This is a very good book.
Just how far would a person stray from the center of their comfort zone if refusal meant a threat to their personal salvation or the welfare of their family and loved ones? And in making the choice would the unfamiliar and unpleasant aspects of those decisions start to become comfortable? By taking one step off the beaten path, could that person become lost and begin to wander farther and farther from the straight and narrow, the usual trail?
These questions come to the surface after reading what happens to the main character, Paul Haskell, in THE MISSION #2. Not only does THE MISSION present a suspenseful and weird mystery in this book - - it creates thought-provoking psychological and moralistic questions.
Stop reading now if you want to avoid spoilers. I can’t really tell any more without revealing some of the details . . . . .
After failing to carry out his mission in Issue #1, Paul tries to return to his regular work/family life but has major regret/doubt nagging at him - - and regular reminders from the television news of the awful consequences of his inaction. There’s another note waiting for him on his car windshield and another meeting/confrontation with Gabriel. Gabriel gives Paul a new mission with two objectives this time.
Paul acquires a gun in an act of bravery that turns the tables on a would be thief, and continues his detection/pursuit with new determination. He lies to both his employer and his family to cover up for his absences while trailing his target. When he finds him, his target is engaged in some further weirdness, self-abuse and blood-writing on walls in a sleazy hotel. The target hints that he knows something of Paul’s mission and that they share a common history.
Paul finishes his mission without violating his principles and values. Yet, as he exits the accident scene with a look of grim determination on his face - - the caption box on the building in the background contains just two blunt words = “mission accomplished.” We, the readers, realize that Paul has just had an experience that will work profound changes on his psyche. He will never be the same.
So ends the first two issues of THE MISSION. This would make a great one hour pilot episode for a television series. It also makes a neat little two-issue story arc that lays the foundation for the actions and regrets to come in future issues. THE MISSION #3 goes on sale April 2011.