COMIC REVIEW – The Mysterious Strangers #1

themysterioustangers1The Mysterious Strangers #1 is a slick and fun slice of supernatural espionage  from Oni Press.

“The last thing you want to see is my hands.” They’re called the Strangers. They’re deadly. Dangerous. And you’ll never see them unless they want you to. But now they’ve come up against something big – United States government big. A cover-up of international proportions, and at the center of it all is the Strangers’ deadliest foe, a man known only as Capricorn. A man who knows the Strangers. A man who sees them.

I will start this review with a thank you to Steve Aryan of Comics Book Outsiders who put me onto this comic. He remarked that this comic seemed to be influenced by shows like Sapphire and Steel and for me that was more than enough of a recommendation. However after reading this debut issue I straight away thought of an old 60’s TV show called ‘The Champions’. The show itself was centered around three secret agents; Craig Stirling, Sharron Macready and Richard Barrett who could not only communicate  via ESP (telepathy) also had their physical abilities and senses enhanced to superhuman levels. Together the trio battled evil while working for a UN agency called NEMESIS.

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Now if you’re one of the few people who remember the Champions then you’re already at an advantage going into the Mysterious Strangers as the format will certainly be familiar. The comic reads like the creative team have lifted the template of the show and transposed it effortlessly over the comic page adding touch to make even more out there. Make no mistake though this is more than a simple cut and place as although comic utilizes elements of these types of shows (I so hope I’m right about the Champions) it charts its own course.

The comic opens with a great little pre-credits sequence which establishes the Mysterious Strangers and a first look at their powers. After the credits (yes you get credits) the team who comprise of Verity Mills, Michael Kono and Sandoval  are called in from their various locales for a briefing from their boss Absalom Quince (one of the best names I’ve heard in many a while).  In The Champions this scene was handled by another bearded bloke called Tremayne. Seriously the opening credits were so good that I was humming my own theme tune as I read the pages. I went with the Champions very own theme tune (see below) for section to get me in the mood.

By the time the Strangers are dispatched to investigate the strange behavior of a foreign leader any doubts that this wasn’t some psychedelic 60’s spy romp is put to bed the first time you hear name of the main bad guys behind all the dodgy goings on. The plot zips along nicely and while it feels a little predictable it’s too early to count it out just yet. Even if it does turn out to be a run of the mill story the comic is so damn fun, tongue in cheek and the characters so cool it didn’t bother me that much to be honest.

Not a lot  is revealed during issue one in regards to the origin of the Strangers or their abilities and nor should it be given the comic’s title. I’m sure at some stage in the future we can expect a backstory complete with plane crash in some snowy locale, warrior monks and vast stores of great knowledge and power.

Kowalchuk’s art is bold and brash and really sells the wacky 60’s tone these creators are going for.

Issue one ends on a great cliffhanger with some voiceover captions that the Batman TV show would be proud of.

Reading this first issue you would be forgiven for expecting to see Napoleon Solo, Austin Powers,The Saint,The Baron,Sapphire and Steel,The Persuaders, The Avengers (No not those Avengers the other ones) and of course The Champions turning up as cameos. Fingers crossed the creators are reading this review and the creative juices are now flowing around these suggestions.

If you want to get your 60’s spy vibe on with heavy side order of the weird then buckle up because the Mysterious Strangers are waiting.

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Title: The Mysterious Strangers #1

Publisher: Oni Press

Writer/Creator: Chris Roberson

Artist/Covers/Creator: Scott Kowalchuk

Rating: 4/5

Reviewer: Nuge

The Mysterious Strangers #1 is currently free on Comixology (that’s who I picked it up) so there’s no excuse not to check it out.

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