Have you ever wanted to see all of Dynamite's pulp characters smack some sense into some crime? Do you clamor for the art of Alex Ross, but miss seeing his interior work? Well, the MASKS is for you. Green Hornet and Kato are in New York City looking for the mob boss Rothko, which leads them to meet the Shadow. Unfortunately, Rothko is a figure head in the Justice Party, which is a government group that sucks the fun out of life.
I've been very excited to see Alex Ross do interiors again, especially on a book featuring characters I really enjoy. His art style is perfect for a book like this. It's Norman Rockwellesque pictures of vigilantes punching people. Who wouldn't love that? Bad comparisons aside, Ross' work really shines when working with these pulp heroes. In fact, it truly is a perfect match because of the era these stories take place. Each panel is a work of art, and even if the dialogue bubbles weren't here, I'd still love it.
Ross does some great job with character designs here as well. We get to see the Agents of the Bureau, who are some incredibly cool looking officers that wear body armor and masks, which are similar in design to Green Hornet's mask. It's a very retro-future design, much like in the way Americans imagine what the 2000s would look like. On top of all that, he keeps each page unique by changing up the panel layouts and giving the panels different angles, so the reader isn't stuck looking at the same, straight on, boring shot the entire comic.
We get a very solid and cool story here. The vigilantes are all coming together to fight against what is becoming a corrupt and unlawful government. I really enjoyed getting a feel for this world throughout the issue. Writer Chris Roberson does an amazing job introducing us to this world. In fact, even though these are all well established characters at Dynamite, I felt this issue was very new reader friendly. You really don't need to know much about these characters to understand what's going on here.
My only real problem with this book is that these characters coming together feels a tad forced. What we get in this issue is a bunch of heroes all showing up at the same place at the same time. There is a legitimate reason why these characters are all in New York City, but it really didn't feel natural, especially when the Spider just pops in randomly.
MASKS 1 is a great start and what's even better is that anyone can pick this up and read it. You don't need to be reading GREEN HORNET, THE SHADOW, ZORRO, or THE SPIDER to fully appreciate these characters and this story. I really like the collaboration between Roberson and Ross here. I think they're a perfect fit for this world and story. It was great to see Alex Ross work on interiors again, and I loved his design of the Agents. However, I felt like the team coming together was a tad forced, especially when The Spider popped in.
Overall, this issue was brilliant and I highly recommend it.