Review: Masks #2
Powerful criminals and crooked politicians have taken over New York, and instituted a fascist police state. With the law bent to their own purposes, the so-called “Justice Party” and their army of Black Legion troopers imprison, extort, and execute any citizens who stand in their way. Only vigilantes like the Shadow, Green Hornet, and the Spider have any hope of standing against them, but instead of operating outside the law as they have always done, these masked heroes must now oppose the law in their fight for justice. But they will not be fighting alone, as more men and women don masks and emerge from the shadows to stand alongside them.
Masks #2 is a new series I’ve been raving about if you’ve checked out our comic book stories on the site as of late. It is written by Chris Roberson and the first issue had interior art by Alex Ross. Ross steps back to providing covers, but Dennis Calero jumps in for the remainder of the series for interiors. Ross is still credited as providing “art direction.” With #2 out, the question is whether or not the next installment can live up to the exceptional first issue?
The story starts off at what appears to be a fancy get-together for the well to do. It is broken up by the goon squad of the Justice Party who are collecting the new “tax.” Young Marla Drake slips out to an alleyway to change when she is startled by Jethro Dumont. After a witty exchange, we find out the two have stepped out of the party to change into their hero duds. We’re not sure who they are just yet, in the confines of the story at least. A quick search of the names reveals their hero status. Then we switch back to The Green Hornet, Kato, The Spider, and The Shadow who were surrounded in the last installment. They make their escape and start to talk about what’s going on and what they’re going to do about it. The story also features a prison scene where we meet two more people who are destined to be heroes.
The story is handled well by Roberson. There are actually three stories going on at once, but the writer handles balancing out the scenes and providing the necessary transitions that set up the next issue. I don’t envy Dennis Calero at all. Alex Ross absolutely knocked the first issue out of the park, so to come in after that has to be nerve-wracking. Calero does a great job of taking up the art reigns and adds his own little touches to the characters. Save for one or two panels of odd eye line placement, which is a small quibble, Calero does a great job of carrying the title. The colors are absolutely stunning. The costumed heroes and the city itself have an almost neon glow about them.
Bottom Line: The story is fantastic as the first issue and the art shift is handled well. Masks is one series you do not want to miss. The pulp heroes teaming up to fight a fascist government in New York has been and promises to be a great story. Roberson and Calero craft a fine comic that rises above the average run of the mill second issue transition 4/5
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