22 April 2009

Anna Mercury: The Cutter

I made a decision a few years ago to buy fewer monthly comics and to buy collected editions (TPBs) instead, and this plan is gradually coming to fruition.

The thing I like about TPBs is that you get the whole story in one book, you buy the book once the whole story has been published and reviewed, and it is easy to get hold of old stories.

At the moment I am addressing some serious Warren Ellis gaps (and that's not because Warren is so cute on Twitter!) and I have just read Anna Mercury: The Cutter which collects issues #1 to #5 of the comic.

Anna Mercury uses some themes common to other Warren Ellis and other English writers' works. From Warren we get aspects of Planetary and Ghost Boxes (e.g. parallel worlds and mysterious agencies) and from the wider canon we get reflections of Luther Arkwright, Oswald Bastable, Tom Strong and a host of other characters who inhabit worlds where old architecture is mixed with more modern technologies (airships are common). This means that the story has a familiar context and is easily approachable.

Also familiar is Warren Ellis' writing style and this is straight out of his action box. We get pages with no words, short sentences, a fair amount of swearing and little in the way of humour or emotion, which is OK for a action story.

Facundo Percio's artwork is sprightly and we are treated to lots of vibrant action shots of Anna Mercury and lots of exciting cityscapes. The example above shows off both of these.

The story itself bounces along nicely without particularly achieving too much or being too surprising. It it does introduce the character and her world nicely and so promises more for the future but overall it comes across as a lesser project and there are much better Warren Ellis books out there - such as the two volumes of the superb Freakangels.

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