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Mystery Man: The Field #2

Written by Paul Hudder on Thursday, May 15 2014 and posted in Reviews

Mystery Man: The Field #2

The man in the field is identified, but things are about to get a whole lot weirder.

The Field is written and lettered by Ed Brisson, colored by Simon Gough, with pencils and inks by Simon Roy. On the run from some kind of danger, the amnesiac man (given the name Grant in this issue) is dragged by bible salesman turned psychopath Christian to King's Kock Kountry Klub where he finds out a little bit more about his mysterious past and even more mysterious present. But unfortunately, right as Grant is being given answers, Christian pops up and continues to complicate the story with his vague dialogue and silly half-cursing. Providing antagonism along the way is the Smoke Eater's motorcycle gang who are tracking down Grant for still unknown reasons.  The issue comes to an end with another weird wrench thrown into the works with the introduction of another, stranger group of murderous weirdos popping up. 
While I get that this is supposed to be a mystery, the story itself kind of falls flat with how it's more interested in making things more confusing rather than providing even something as little as clues. Sure we get some answers about Grant and his past, but what we get doesn't really make any of what we've seen so far make sense. There are still two issues left and I'm sure (I hope) that Brisson will start giving us more answers, but I also wouldn't be surprised if things just keep getting weirder. The left turn at the end of this issue with the faux-Enterprise crew points to a desire to keep things weird. Escalating weirdness with a cool time-travel plot isn't a bad thing. Hell, it's right up my alley of personal interests, but the whole shrouded in mystery that doesn't seem to want to solve itself is a step in the wrong direction. That said, the character of Christian is actually evolving in a slow yet interesting kind of way. We're learning more about him than we are about Grant, but that's also kind of okay. Brisson really shines when he's giving Christian weird little non-expletive swear words. It's the perfect odd little tick to tie this character into this odd little world. Along with the shock of bizarre things happening, this book is also really, really bloody and violent. Almost every other page it feels like Roy is drawing body parts exploding with their organs and blood flying everywhere. While it is toned down compared to something out of an Avatar book, there are some scenes that are pretty jarring (like one of the Smoke Eaters getting a face full of asphalt). Does it do anything to further the story? Not really, and it doesn't really feel like it raises the stakes either. We get that Grant is in danger. Showing brains and blood doesn't serve to reinforce that idea. It just feels like an easy way to make story seem more bad-ass. 
The things in The Field that actually are bad-ass are also the things that help it work as a successful comic book. Brisson's lettering is top-notch throughout the issue. The little sound effects he puts into the panel, like teeth grinding or a mop sopping up a puddle of blood, are both subtle and engrossing. He also does a great job showing movement through sound in an interesting way that shows up more than once. Roy's art is another great piece of this story. He draws the mundane and the absolutely bonkers equally well. His pencils are one of the things that make the weirdness of the story work well. Gough's colors really shine in the first few pages of a disorienting flashback. Combined with Roy's pencils, the two really bring the page to life in great ways. Even the the bits of ultra-violence look good in their own grotesque way. As I mentioned earlier, Christian is kind of the breakout star of the series so far, with his weird mix of piety and murderous resolve. He's the one who seems to have the most going on, and, for that matter, the only one with even half a plan. Sure, he's also undoubtedly a major dickhead, but he also seems to be doing what he thinks is right. He's also really the only character with any clear inkling of back-story, so that may be the only reason he's the most interesting. With only two issues of the mini-series left, I really do hope that The Field goes somewhere that is both interesting and engaging. One mystery is kind of solved, but it seems like a dozen more have taken it's place. Why was Grant in the field in the beginning? Why is he being jerked around by a bloodthirsty bible salesman? What other questions are going to further complicate this already complicated story? I'm almost positive at least one of these questions (the last one) will be answered in the coming issues. Is the series worth keeping up on to find out? I'm really not sure, but I'm leaning more towards a succinct  no.


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