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Masks # 1 - Chris Roberson Alex Ross

Written by Arion on Wednesday, January 23 2013 and posted in Reviews

Superheroes always operate on the outskirts of legality. They may capture criminals, but by doing so they’re also infringing the law, after all, no citizen can take justice into their own hands. Unless, of course, doing that becomes absolutely necessary. 

Chris Roberson reunites in the same city a group of masked vigilantes that existed way before Batman or Captain America. We are talking about classic pulp heroes from the 20s and 30s such as The Shadow, The Spider, Zorro, The Green Hornet and Kato. And Roberson cleverly poses a question of significant philosophical depths: what is the difference between law and justice? Which one of those should prevail? And what should be done in case justice is threatened by the law?

Masks # 1 - Chris Roberson Alex Ross
Green Hornet & Kato / el Avispón Verde y Kato

In a corrupted city, the major is hiring criminals as cops and instituting laws that will only make the mobsters and contra-bandists richer. The Green Hornet and Kato have problems dealing with this new status quo, they have always operated within the confine-ments of the law, and they had always associated law with justice, like so many people do. That’s when The Shadow appears. And he shows them that law and justice are very different things, and that injustice can often be found in the world of legality. With the help of Zorro and The Spider this group of gentlemen will declare war against a new fascist regimen unlike anything America has ever seen. 

What can I say? I’m not really a fan of these classic pulp heroes, but I really liked this first issue. I think Roberson has found a way to make the most out of this group of characters. Clearly there has been a lot of thought put into this project. 

Masks # 1 - Chris Roberson Alex Ross
now the enemy is the law / ahora el enemigo es la ley

Another major surprise was seeing Alex Ross doing interior art again. He does covers every month, mostly for Dynamite titles, but I really missed his sequential art. Looks like this year I’ve started buying more comics thanks to extraordinary artists such as John Cassaday (who after years of dedicating his talent exclusively to covers has returned as full penciler and inker) and now Alex Ross. 

I’ve been a Ross fan since Marvels and Kingdom Come. Surely, his style demands time. He uses models to get the level of photorealism that made him one of the most respected painters of the industry. He’s always meticulously careful with the designs he creates, and that is very time-consuming. Consequently, he wouldn’t be able to do a monthly series, so every new project from him is always welcome. I was thrilled looking at his pages, this first issue sure reminded me of what I have always loved about Ross. It’s official, this is Dynamite’s best miniseries of the year.  

Masks # 1 - Chris Roberson Alex Ross
The Shadow / La Sombra

Los súper-héroes siempre operan al margen de la legalidad. Puede ser que capturen criminales, pero al hacerlo también infringen la ley, después de todo, ningún ciudadano puede actuar como justiciero. A menos, claro está, que hacerlo sea absoluta-mente necesario.

Chris Roberson reúne en la misma ciudad a un grupo de vigilantes enmas-carados que existieron mucho antes que Batman o el Capitán América. Estamos hablando de los clásicos héroes de los 'pulp' de los años 20 y 30 como La Sombra, La Araña, el Zorro, el Avispón Verde y Kato. Y Roberson coloca con astucia una pregunta de profundad filosófica: ¿cuál es la diferencia entre la ley y la justicia? ¿Cuál debería prevalecer? ¿Y qué debería hacerse en caso que la justicia sea amenazada por la ley?

En una ciudad corrupta, el alcalde contrata a criminales como policías, e instaura leyes que sólo enriquecen a los mafiosos y a los contrabandistas. Al Avispón Verde y a Kato les cuesta entender este nuevo status quo, y es que ellos siempre han operado dentro de los confines de la ley, y siempre han asociado la ley con la justicia, al igual que mucha gente. Entonces, La Sombra aparece. Y él les muestra que ley y justicia son dos cosas distintas, y la injusticia a menudo se encuentra en el mundo de la legalidad. Con la ayuda del Zorro y la Araña, este grupo de caballeros declarará la guerra contra el régimen más fascista que Estados Unidos ha visto alguna vez.

Masks # 1 - Chris Roberson Alex Ross
The Spider / La Araña

¿Qué puedo decir? En realidad no soy fan de esos clásicos héroes pulp, pero realmente me gustó el primer número. Creo que Roberson ha encontrado la manera de aprovechar a este grupo de personajes. Se nota que ha pensado bien en cómo hacer este proyecto.

Otra gran sorpresa fue ver a Alex Ross dibujando. Él hace portadas cada mes, sobre todo para Dynamite, pero yo realmente echaba de menos su arte secuencial. Parece que este año he comprado más cómics gracias a artistas extraordinarios como John Cassaday (quien se había dedicado años exclusivamente a las portadas) y ahora Alex Ross. 

He sido fan de Ross desde los días de "Marvels" y "Kingdom Come". Sin duda, su estilo demanda tiempo. Usa modelos para obtener el nivel de foto-realismo que lo convirtió en uno de los más respetados ilustradores de la industria. Siempre es meticulosamente cuidadoso con los diseños que crea, y eso consume tiempo. En consecuencia, no sería capaz de dibujar una serie mensual, así que cada nuevo proyecto suyo es siempre bienvenido. Quedé encantado mirando sus páginas, este primer número me recordó por qué amo el arte de Ross. Es oficial, esta es la mejor miniserie de Dynamite del año.

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About the Author - Arion

Arion, who is either from Chile or New York (it’s not really clear) writes a blog that the Outhouse steals on a regular basis.  Arion is by far the nicest of all the staff writers and the most well behaved only having been banned from one country.  One thing we really appreciate about Aroin is that he writes his reviews in English and Spanish and we hope someday he’ll translate this blurb for us.  We’re not so good at languages, just look at how well we write in English if you need proof.  You should bookmark Arion’s blog - – and actually look at it.  There will be a quiz at the end of every month.


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