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Review – Mystere #2 (Zenescope)

Mystere #2 (Zenescope Entertainment) cover C (detail) by Anthony Spay
Mystere #2
Overall
9/10
9/10
  • Writing - 9/10
    9/10
  • Art - 9/10
    9/10
  • Overall - 9/10
    9/10
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Summary

Writer: Ben Meares
Penciler: Sergio Arino
Colorist: Ceci de la Cruz
Letterer: Carlos M. Manguel
Cover Art: Ryan Pasibe and Ivan Nunes
Publisher: Zenescope Entertainment
Maturity Rating: Teen
Release Date: October 9th, 2019

Mystere is taking a break from using her powers so that she can focus on helping people in a new way. All goes to plan for a while until a mysterious curse comes back to town, in the form of the Blacksmith. She has to decide how best she can use her powers, or even if she should at all. 

It’s Back to Basics in Mystere #2

At its best, Zenescope Entertainment is a comic book company that focuses on female characters. By giving them meaningful stories, it also helps to right some of the wrongs in the medium, namely, that male characters far outnumber the female characters. Zenescope often has some problems staying focused on that challenge though. All too often, cover art is turned into something exploitative. Those who judge a book by its cover therefore assume that the company is all about exploiting women. In truth though, since diving into the Grimm Fairy Tales imprint, I see that Zenescope has managed some great and some not-so-great stories involving its main leads. Where does Mystere #2 end up? 

Writing

Mystere #2 (Zenescope Entertainment) cover A by Ryan Pasibe
Mystere #2 (Zenescope Entertainment) cover A by Ryan Pasibe

One of the most basic of comic stories deals with the hero doubting their abilities (or fearing them). Instead of battling evil, they choose a life of normal heroics versus a life of superheroics. That this plot has been done so often doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work if it is done right. The fact that some of the most iconic comic book storylines of all time use this as a plot outline means that the opposite is true. Part of the reason for this is that it forces the writer to focus inward on the character instead of outward on otherworldly threats.

Ben Meares has the writing duties on Mystere #2. It is up to him to see if he can use this same plot to make something novel for this character. He mostly succeeds. A character like Mystere is not widely known even for those who read Zenescope, let alone for comics as a whole, but Meares still manages to exhibit an endearing character who is at odds with her powers. That he has also given the reader a decent setup for the action in this series, with a new haunting and a new villain, also works well. 

Art

Mystere choosing to not use her powers in this issue likely works out well for the artist, Sergio Arino. That is not an assessment of the artist’s abilities. Rather, it must be an onerous task to draw the mask art for the character every time. Sergio succeeds in capturing the setting here, which is realistic when needed and supernatural when required.

The design of the new villain, the Blacksmith, is also good. Although one might assume that Sergio had a lot of practice drawing Thor when learning his pencils. The main cover is also well-handled, as those who like to judge a book by its cover will find less to be critical of here. 

Story

Mystere #2 was an enjoyable read. The story is maybe not new, but it is handled with care. It gives the main character some new depth that wasn’t really evident in her previous incarnations within the multiverse. More so, it achieves an almost transcendental feeling, as it really feels as though Mystere could exist in any comic book universe and face the problems that she faces at present. With that being said, it is more this kind of issue that the publisher needs if it is trying to do some worldbuilding for its heroes as opposed to some of the more fantastical stories that are published in other titles. This issue works because it doesn’t look big, but because it focuses on the small. In so doing, it gets it right. 


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