Review: Mandala Trade Paperback
Earth—here and now. Humankind is secretly enslaved by a global mind-control system called the GRID. Mike Morningstar and his spiritual spec-ops unit, the Thirteen, must alter time and take down the GRID before it’s too late. As fiction meets reality, the Thirteen need your help if they are to succeed in awakening humanity and changing the future. Are you awake?
A genre defying trade paperback recently came out from Dark Horse called Mandala. The story is written by Stuart Moore with art from Bruce Zick. Clem Robbins rounds out the team with lettering. The time travel/mysticism/mythological story following Michael Morningstar and The Thirteen is a far out trip, but is it one worth going on in the first place?
Michael Morningstar has found himself on a journey to enlightenment as he finds himself on a life-or-death mission to save the human race. Michael has to wake up and discover his true potential and his true power. Along the way he must assemble the Thirteen along with his one true love, Mary Lozen. Mary’s grandfather Many Colors will help out all he can, but it’s all up to Michael and the Thirteen to awaken and help save the world from the clutches of the GRID and its mind-control system. Can Michael unlock his true potential? Even if he can, and the Thirteen lend a hand, is it enough to defeat the seemingly unstoppable forces of evil?
Moore writes a complex, sweeping saga that blends elements of mysticism and world religions to make a wide-reaching story with a global and dimension hopping setting. It’s a fast-paced adventure that builds up a massive world. Readers are thrown into the story from page 1 and it continues to build and build until the final chapter. This is a thinking man’s story (or thinking woman’s story). You have to pay attention and keep up with the developments. There are times where you feel like you might be reading the middle part of a much larger story arc as things get pretty complex as you move along, but Moore keeps things going and pulls the reader along on the trip for the most part. Zick’s art is a big draw for the series. The artist provides some psychedelic art with a small dash of Kirby and Mike Mignola’s Hellboy. There are a lot of fantastical creatures and elements from popular myth and religion (along with the respective symbolism), and Zick does a good job of incorporating it into the unique and distinct world of Mandala. The colors add a layer to the series that gives it even more of a trippy vibe. There are pages that feel almost like a black light poster, and in the case of this series and what it’s putting across, that is a big compliment.
Bottom Line: Mandala may not be for everybody, but if you’re a fan of mysticism and conspiracy sci-fi that’s a little out there, this one is definitely worth picking up.
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