This comic has one of the most wonderful covers I’ve seen in a long time. Drawn by comics legend Brian Bolland, it shows a nearly nude mermaid (she has shells over her chest), sitting on a rock with some sort of water demon on her lap. The mermaid has the most exquisite look of joy on her face, as if the water demon has made her sublimely happy. The cover is a great come-on for an anthology comic, because it promises treasures both unique and exotic within. It’s just more proof, as if we needed it, that Brian Bolland is undoubtedly one of the finest cover artists of his time.
Inside, though, is a different story. Introductory anthologies are strange beasts. On one hand, they’re meant to give a reader a sense of a line in general, featuring excerpts from stories and teases from other series. It can be hard to present a feeling of a unified line of books. One of the keys is an old-style introduction by the line’s editor. The purpose of the introduction is to give the reader a sense of the general spirit of the line, a thematic center that helps to drive the line. In other words, we want to know why Desperado is different from Image Central or Vertigo or any other line. Unfortunately, there’s no such introduction here; instead, we
readers are immediately thrown into an excerpt from an upcoming book.
Tony Harris’s “Roundeye” is the first featured tale. I’ve been a fan of Harris’s work since he illustrated Starman, so it’s no surprise that I enjoyed his work on this story. The problem is that it was hard to get a feel for the story in just eight pages, excerpted as it is from a 64-page graphic novel. Still, there’s a wonderfully uniquely sexy style to the story, and it looks very intriguing.
The second except is called “World Traveler” by Ron Marz and Brandon Peterson. It’s an odd piece because it reads like an excerpt from a child literacy project rather than a teaser for future comics. Adding to the confusion is that there’s no promotional note after the story for future tales by the pair. I was left scratching my head.
Such was also the case with “A Mirror to the Soul,” which boasts seven different artists who illustrate life in an apartment building. It’s interesting but strange, and after I was done I wondered where it had come from.
Typically for anthologies, this is a mixed bag. This one was extra
disappointing due to its seeming lack of editorial focus. But what an incredible cover!