The Mantle Vol 1 from the Shadowline imprint of Image Comics -
A few hours ago, Robbie and his girlfriend, Jen, left a punk rock show stoned. Intent on finding other ways of getting high, Robbie was suddenly hit by a burst of lightning that gave him powers beyond his wildest dreams. And now Robbie is dead.
The Mantle is an enigmatic force, a power given to those it chooses to defend humanity from evil. But the Mantle has an enemy, The Plague, a vicious, murderous and extremely powerful monster-man that has systematically and relentlessly murdered everyone who has been chosen. Robbie is his latest victim, lasting only hours after gaining his powers, leaving his girlfriend, Jen, to mourn him. However, The Mantle throws everyone a curveball, and selects Jen as the next in line to be mankind's protector and to fight The Plague. With help from a small group of superhumans bent on taking The Plague down, Jen must find a way to master her abilities in order to defeat the plague once and for all. There is no running. He will find her, and everyone she loves. To avenge her slaughtered boyfriend, to protect her family and friends, to shield humanity, to stay alive, Jen must face The Plague and win. Does Jen have what it takes, or will she be just another victim to meet her doom at the vile hands of The Plague?
The Mantle is a fun superhero journey with interesting characters, and rather cool artwork by Brian Level. Ed Brisson has done a pretty good job here of building a world for these characters, and an intriguing backstory for The Mantle itself. The Mantle is a bit reminiscent of Jim Shooter's and John Byrne's Star Brand, just with a strong female lead, which already gives it plenty of cool points in my book. The characters are pretty engaging - I actually liked, and cared about just about every one of the good guys in the story, and I was pleasantly surprised at the reveal of the motivations of the antagonist towards the end of the story. I only found one part of the story questionable: having a superhero who needs to be drunk or high to use their superpowers best sounds a bit irresponsible and suspect to me; it kind of reminded me of those guys who swear they drive better when they are drunk - and we know how that ends many times. I just cannot fathom a person wielding the most powerful, most dangerous weapon that mankind has having to be stoned in order to use it properly. Other than this, The Mantle is a good, fast, fun read for adults. I enjoyed it.
RATING: 7.5 out of 10. The rating might have been higher if not for the promotion of casual drug use - that sucked quite a bit of fun out of the story for me.
Thanks for reading.