Monday, April 2, 2012

Mystery Society #1-5

Written by Steve Niles
Art by Fiona Staples

I picked up the five issues that made up this 2010 mini-series for a good price, mostly because I like Fiona Staples's artwork.  It's a fun series, if not particularly original or memorable.

Mystery Society of the title is being operated by Nick and Anastasia Mystery, former independent bookstore owners who won big in the lottery, and decided to begin to investigate government cover-ups and occult happenings.  When the series opens, Nick is in the process of breaking in to Area 51 in the hopes of rescuing a pair of twin African American girls with mental abilities who have been held captive in suspended animation since the 1960s.  This involves fighting an aging general in a giant battlesuit, and that in turn leads to some problems for the fledgling society.

Over the course of the five issues, they gain two more members - the brain of Jules Verne now inhabiting a robot, and the Secret Skull, a masked undead woman.  I feel like the format for this team book was heavily influenced by The Umbrella Academy, only without the madcap unpredictability of that title.

As I've said, this is an enjoyable series, made all the more so because of Staples's very nice art, but it never really moves beyond the limitations of the genre.  The B-plot concerns the Skull and Verne searching for the missing skull of Edgar Allan Poe, and their prime suspect in its theft's name is Culprit, and it turns out that he is the thief.  I never quite got the sense that this is to be read as a complete comedy, but then there were these moments that are more suitable for a Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League reunion.  I can see why there hasn't been a sequel...

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