Review:Mystery Men #1 of 5

Published on June 14th, 2011

It is a pre-superhero world, there is great struggle in America as the Great Depression continues on…in a few years the world would see a new World War and the coming of some of Marvel’s greatest heroes. Mystery Men is the silent whisper before a great deafening yell.  Writer David Liss along with artist Patrick Zircher introduce us to the Marvel Universe of 1932. A world of speakeasies and fedoras, but is this a world that makes you want to read more or just drift away to sleep?  Read on to find out!

mysterymen1Mystery Men follows in the footsteps of The Marvels Project by exploring the early days of the Marvel Universe. What sets this mini series apart, however, is that it goes even further back in the Marvel U and creates new characters pre-dating the earliest existing ones. The story is set to tell us of a group of new heroes out to change the world in ways they never thought possible. In this first issue, we are introduced to three of these new heroes.  Now, on to Mystery Men #1 of 5.

This book opens with a heist, a pulp inspired scene of a man named Dennis Piper, known secretly as The Operative, sneaking into a penthouse and then going to a black & white  affair. We then learn that he is in love with an actress named Alice . She is just another actress in New York who is trying to make it in showbiz on the great white way.  Alice seems to be on top of things and is even set to meet a mysterious man known as The General who plans to introduce her to all the right movie people, but all of this comes to a halt when she is found dead and Dennis becomes suspect number one. The chase begins and Piper takes on his Operative persona, running to find the truth with corrupt cops one step behind and his only help seems to be coming from an urban legend known only as The Revenant.

I don’t want to give too much away with this book, as it would be a disservice to the excellent writing that Liss is doing. He is setting the stage perfectly in this pulp inspired story. The odd thing is that it works perfectly now but it could easily have existed in the 30’s as a pulp magazine and would have sold great! It has that Rocketeer feel to the story, that little bit of, Aww, shucks, mixed with something darker and more menacing. On top of the great story is absolutely beautiful art work by Zircher! I can’t applaud his work enough as it truly is defining the look of these characters and the world in which they inhabit. Zircher has not only upped his game on this book, but he has now set a bar and dares others to reach it! As of writing this there are only going to be five issues but I honestly hope they build up such a great back story with these books that it allows for more stories set in this time period.

Final Verdict: If you loved films like The Rocketeer and Raiders of the Lost Ark then I can honestly tell you, you will LOVE this book. Mystery Men is set to be one of the BEST pulp books offered to the comic community in years and one I for one will be there for any and all future installments from Liss and Zircher!

Sheldon Lee