Grim_Noir Finds Things Getting Strangers and Mysterious Strangers

Mysterious Strangers 1-2 interlocking covers 

Title: The Mysterious Strangers #1 and #2 (“The Purloined Leader”)

Writer: Chris Roberson

Artist: Scott Kowalchuk

Cover Art: Scott Kowalchuk & Dan Jackson

Variant Cover Art: Mike & Laura Allred

Colorist: Dan Jackson

Letterer: Ed Brisson

Publisher: Oni Press, Inc.

Reviewed by Grim_Noir

Anyone looking forward to Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this Fall, or who rejoiced over the return of The Lone Gunmen in this week’s X-Files: Season 10 #2, will find Oni Press’ The Mysterious Strangers right up their foggy, conspiracy-shrouded alley.

The Strangers are a team of 1960s superhumans whose mandate is to operate covertly against aliens, espionage agents, the supernatural and the super-criminal. Come out of nowhere, protect the world from the strange, and then scatter back to the four corners of the globe. The group consists of four members. Verity Mills is a cool-headed platinum blonde, who can control time (over a small area of effect). Michael Kono is an electrically-charged, self-styled ladykiller. The sullen, single-named strongman, Sandoval, is a guy who can do much worse things than just punch you. And, their wheelchair-bound shotcaller is millionaire Absalom Quince. In this two-part premiere mission, the crew infiltrates a small Caribbean nation to investigate charges of Presidential mind-control.

Strangers pg 2

 

If writer Chris Roberson was in the automotive industry, he would be the guy who lovingly restored “lost classics,” now given a chance to design a vehicle of his own. All of Roberson’s work on Madman, Madame Xanadu, and Dynamite’s pulp heroes have been preparation for The Mysterious Strangers. Like the “retro” stylings of the new Camaro, Charger and Mustang, at initial glance, the lines of this book suggest Silver Age titles like The Challengers of the Unknown, Doom Patrol or even Krakoa-era X-Men. But, a closer look under the hood reveals Roberson is fully aware of all the tropes that he is using to build his book and he has turbo-charged them with modern sensibilities. When the evil organization has the anachronistic acronym O.C.C.U.L.T., you know Roberson is keenly conscious of what he is doing. (That group’s leader is named “Capricorn,” a clear tip of the hat to Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s “Scorpio.”)

The co-designer of this hot rod is artist Scott Kowalchuk. Kowalchuk has also been around this proving track before, with his previous Image book, The Intrepids. His chunky art style suggests a manic Mike Allred, but Kowalchuk still manages to wring quite a good deal of expressiveness out of his cast. And, unlike Roberson’s artist on Masks, Kowalchuk fills his background with essential details that give us a sense of time and place. His colorist, Dan Jackson, paints The Mysterious Strangers in bold colors that suggest old four-color comics, yet are clearly created with a digital palate. Together, this creative collective is firing on all cylinders, like the proverbial well-oiled machine.

The best part is, you don’t have to take my word for it: ComiXology is still giving away the Free Comic Book Day copy of The Mysterious Strangers #1 for FREE. So, go ahead, take a test drive. If you like the ride, you can buy issue #2. And, for you completists, the floppies for issues #1 and #2 both went on sale on July 17th.

Strangers Allred Alternate Covers

Ol' Grim Hisself

* GRIM_NOIR is convinced that the internet is a figment of his imagination. Please comment below and/or follow @Grim_Noir on Twitter or Friend on Facebook or Good Reads to end his self-delusions.

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