jonesdeini's Mystery Men #4 review

20 Pages That Read Like 40!!!

The Mystery Discover the location where Nox and the General have been holding the kidnapped children, but are caught off guard by what lies in wait for them.
 
The Good
Zircher's art on this book has been nothing less than stellar and for the first three issues he's been the star of this mini series. He doesn't let up here as he truly goes to town this issue!!! Liss' script provides him with many action sequences that allow him to really cut loose and strut his stuff. His character design breakdowns at the end of each issue have been a joy to read and I really love his designs for Nox and The Aviatrix in particular. And he does some very clever background work which is quite subtle and may be missed on a first read through but really impressed me on a later read.
 
Since we're on the topic of Nox, I gotta say that pulling this obscure villain into this story was a great move. Having the team face off against the criminal underworld and corrupt society of their day is one thing. But having them face off against an Olympian Goddess adds a truly intriguing angle to the story. Also, at this point it should be known that I'm a huge mythology buff so the inclusion of Nox, Cerberus, and Achilles give me a big kick.
 
I like that we get two perspectives on vigilantism in this series. The more traditional approach of Operative, Aviatrix, and Revenant vs. the more lethal methods of The Surgeon. The little subtle character touches like the skull insignia on The Surgeon's costume are great allusion to the present Marvel U. I couldn't help but think of the classic stories where characters like Punisher or Moonknight would team up with a Spider-man or Captain America.  There was also some very Watchmenesque examination of vigilantism and the motivation to fight crime as a costumed hero. 
 
Achilles falling under the influence of The Surgeon should make for some very interesting goings on.
 
One of the things that makes this series so fun to read is how well it immerses you into the times. Having the Lindbergh baby be one of the kidnapped children was a genius move. Liss has done a great job of taking real world events and "Marvelizing" them within the series. 
 
I applauded Liss in prior reviews for not telling revisionist history and writing these characters and their world as it was. The highlight of this comic for me was the section narrated by Revenant. We got a brief explanation of his origin in issue 1 or 2 but Liss goes into greater depth this go around. There's often an urge (especially by those outside to the south) to mistakenly portray the south as the bastion of racism and the north as a utopia where African Americans could seek refuge and acceptance. Anybody who knows the true history of the civil rights movement will debunk such myths quickly. Liss does an excellent job of displaying the racial issues of the times. Zeke's career being put in limbo because his boss feels "Broadway doesn't want a colored magician",  the crooked cop's declaration that  a black man who enjoys drinking with white women is always guilty of "something", and Operative's less than subtle disdain for Zeke's flirtation with Sarah, all posses a verisimilitude that must be applauded. Zeke lends a great voice to the frustrations and anger of black New Yorkers in the 30's but without becoming a "Kill whitey!!!" militant caricature.    
 
Liss is doing a great job of writing Aviatrix! She's strong, smart, capable, and funny. I was worried that she'd devolve into the token fem, but he's truly taking great care to make her a truly three-dimensional character and not "The Rocketeer" with boobs. 
 
The battle between the Mystery Men and Nox's children/The General was excellently handled with Liss perfectly scripting it all. He knew just when to throw in the dialog and when to let Zircher tell the story. 
 
The price of Nox's aid finally begins to take it's toll on The General and I found it a rather fitting twist of fate for him. 
 
I don't want to spoil the end of this issue so I simply say it has me highly anticipating the final issue of this mini!      
 
The Bad
All the Mystery Men have a legit beef with The General, but Achilles reasoning for vengeance just doesn't work for me. I know it's realistic to blame others for what happens in our life, but Achilles blaming The General for his losses in life just wasn't working for me. 
 
The Verdict
Buy This Comic!!!
I've been very much so enjoying this book up til now, but I could never truly say an issue's been great. For the first three issues I was waiting for Liss' writing to catch up to the quality of Zircher's lovely art and it finally has. Nearly everything from a writing standpoint in this issue is perfect! And I must make special note of Liss' pacing this issue. Though it's the standard 20 pages of story it really does read like it's twice that size. Liss literally packs this issue with character and plot development but none of it seems overbearing. Many issues before a finale feel like they're rushing to set up the end point, but this issue doesn't feel like that in the least. Everything that Liss throws at us feel natural and organic. Now that he's found his groove and is writing like I know he can I'm salivating at the prospect of the potential awesomeness that the final issue contains!!! 
 
P.S. 
Read Liss' first Black Panther arc, it's seriously stellar. 

2 Comments
Posted by Kairan1979

I agree. Achilles has the weakest motivation of them all.

Posted by JonesDeini
@Kairan1979:  
Yeah aside from that I really like the character. If Liss had just not went that route with him his main cast would be perfect. 

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