The Mask: I Pledge Allegiance to The Mask #1
Written by Christopher Cantwell
Art by Patric Reynolds
Colors by Lee Loughridge
Letters by Nate Piekos of Blambot
Review by KrisK
He’s back! The Mask returns, and this isn’t your childhood favorite movie, The Mask. Comic book mask fights dirty. Little known fact, the director for the movie, The Mask, is directed by the director of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 and The Blob, Chuck Russel. The Mask movie initially aimed for horror. Read the comics, and you know why. The Mask, aka Big Head, kills with a Freddy Krueger zaniness.
The comic opens with the return of Big Head. No insight on how the mask returned, but he makes a splash. The victims deserve it, as much as anybody “deserves” it. A couple abusing and drugging children for decades. The man’s death is a bit nutty, but the woman’s death shows the real cartoonish violence. Her just deserts come via Hershey’s chocolate syrup and a pun you can’t help but read in an announcer’s voice.
The Big Head Mask floats around Edge City a lot, and the comic follows a few surviving people who used to wear the Mask. Stanley Ipkiss, the hero of the eponymous movie, died at his girl’s hands years ago. Kathy Matthews works politics now as mayor, and she sees the White House in her grasp. Dead in the water candidate Abner runs against her, but his family pleads for him to give up. Retired Detective Mitch Kellaway, another previous wielder of the murderous mask, comes out of retirement on hearing of the return of the Mask. Of course, it calls to all of them.
The Mask wears its politics and cynicism on its sleeve. The Mask always served as wish fulfillment for the wearer, and in these trying times, the wish often involves politics. Big Head running for office gains credibility once you buy the existence of the mask. With about 50 candidates between the last two presidential elections, everybody runs these days. And considering some of the candidates, a man always wearing a green mask blends right in.
The writing by Christopher Cantwell, creator of the She Could Fly comic and TV show Halt and Catch Fire (and not the individual who appears first if you google the name),kept me engaged. It fits in with much of the work coming out of the non-Big 2 books, as opposed to clinging to the outdated style of the older hit and miss books.
Furthermore, Reynolds’s art grounds itself in realism. The juxtaposition of the more gritty crime style with the absolute insanity of the characters. The introduction of the Canadian stayed with me for a couple of days. It takes a talented artist to draw that scene and make it feel real and terrifying, instead of over the top.
Verdict: Buy! The Mask returns with a vengeance. If you enjoy gritty crime or violent satire, The Mask delivers. Best Dark Horse Comic I have read this year.