Review: MASKS #8
The startling conclusion to the best-selling miniseries! The mysterious master of The Justice Party stands revealed – but is it too late for the greatest crime-fighters of all time to stop the party’s far-reaching plans? Join The Shadow, Green Hornet, Zorro, The Spider, Miss Fury, and more other legends as they bring two-fisted justice to those who would corrupt the law!
Dynamite’s pulp heroes team-up ends this week in Masks #8. The story is written by Chris Roberson with art by Dennis Calero and letters by Simon Bowland. So does Masks finish up strong, or does it crumble under the weight of all those heroes?
Last issue it was revealed that the big bad behind the Justice Party was in fact former hero The Clock aka district attorney Brian O’Brien. This issue opens up with a flashback as O’Brien tells the story of how he went from district attorney to crime fighter to leader of a fascistic political party. The heroes and the villain engage in some back and forth about the role of a hero and how there’s a line between what The Clock is doing and what the vigilantes are doing. There is of course one final great big battle between The Clock, his goons, and the assembled heroes. Once the final blows have been dealt, Black Bat and The Shadow butt heads over what to do with the former hero tuned villain. There is a deep moral and ethical dilemma. The Shadow asserts that criminals can’t be rehabilitated and they must be punished for their sins. Black Bat, a former attorney himself, still feels that there is justice in the system and things must be handled that way. The main battle is over, but can the heroes come together and serve as the beacon of light the people need or are they just a step away from being like The Clock?
Chris Roberson writes a solid conclusion. It’s a pulp story, so it comes down to ideals and morals even after all the fights are ended. Our heroes are working outside the law, but they still serve as instruments of justice. That’s what is explored with the finale. We get a satisfying finale, but we also get a great story about The Clock. We get to see how he went from working inside the system to being a vigilante. From there we see the frustrations that led him to radically reform the system so he could do what he was trying to do. Yes, he’s a bad guy but he’s in a little bit of a grey area. Calero’s art is hit and miss again. We get some great scenes and action, then we get a few odd faces and generic “action” backgrounds for the close-up panels. Calero has done some fantastic things with Black Bat’s vision, but most of the other stuff has been up and down. It feels inconsistent and takes away from Roberson’s story at times.
Bottom Line: Masks ends on a high note. The series as a whole has had some rough moments, but it’s been a very enjoyable ride. Roberson had a strong story that very much fits its pulp setting. Calero did some exciting things along the way and he deserves a lot of credit for Black Bat’s vision. 4/5