By Andy Frisk
May 31, 2009 - 19:55
Creator and Devil’s Due Publishing’s President Josh Blaylock stated at the end of issue #0 of Mercy Sparx that, “When creating Mercy Sparx I had only one goal: have fun.” He also stated that the idea was to “make a hot psychobilly/G&R/Judas Priest lovin’ type of girl that would be fun to draw…It would be a natural that she be a traditional ‘Devil Girl’ in the vein of something Coop or Kozik would draw, or that adorn the flash art pages of every tattoo shop in the world.” This book would be fun according to Blaylock as, “I promise to try and have as much fun as possible writing this thing and hopefully you’ll have as much fun reading it.” Blaylock is wildly successful at meeting his goal with this series, as this “grand selfish mash-up of monsters, hot chicks, punk rock, hip hop, city night life, and criticism of bureaucracy that hopefully makes for a good story” is all of this and more when you mix in Merhoff’s great art. While not complicated, Merhoff is very sharp and perfectly suited to presenting Mercy and her “Devil Girl” tattoo looks as Blaylock envisions them. Through 4 issues of Mercy’s first adventure and one issue of the fantastic and one of the best of the Free Comic Book Day releases, Mercy Sparx: Under New Managment, this reviewer has enjoyed a fun and incredibly funny ride with Mercy through her early adventures. Now if Blaylock and Co. can get Mercy on a regular schedule, her title would shoot to the top of my, and many fan’s monthly reading piles.
When we first meet Mercy in her low dough ($.99 cover price!) debut, she is kneeling on her bed in a baby tee and black panties hurling things at her soon to be ex-boyfriend, Manny, a Horrachnid (a type of spider looking demon-with better abs than most of us will ever have). Guess I better get on my crunches if I hope to impress Mercy one day… Anyway, after Mercy muses to herself, “I can’t believe he slept with that slut. That’s the last time I date a frickin’ Horrachnid. Two wandering eyes are bad enough. Screw it. I need a drink,” while she dons her sneakers, jeans (complete with punk rock belt-chain) and black leather jacket, we already have learned pretty much all we need to know about Mercy. She is a feisty, little rocker/scrapper, who like many of us might “need a drink” after a rough day, and occasionally ponder the existential. Oh yeah, she also has a great bod and some cool tattoos as well.
While hanging at her favorite dive, the aptly named Devil’s Due Pub, and after brushing off another ex-boyfriend with a drink to the face, a drink which she apparently really wasn’t going to finish anyway, giving us the impression she’s really not much of a drinker despite all her talk of “needing a drink,” she’s approached by the full realization of the Devil’s Due Publishing Logo. A huge, well dressed demon with a mission for her, contracted by “the Divine”, as in Heaven, to hunt down some rouge angels running around on Earth. Mercy, ever the little sharp tongued “devil chick,” who we discover really isn’t a full on demon of Hell, but rather a denizen of Sheol, a place for those not quite good enough for heaven and not quite bad enough for Hell hang, responds with “What the hell is this? Earth? Like, the fairy tale
The DDP Logo looking devil responds to Mercy’s mouthing off about “the fairy tale land of Earth” and “all that B.S.” about lucky residents of Sheol getting hand picked by God for special purposes, etc, just before whapping her into/up to/over to Earth with the ironic statement, “I am here to deliver the message, not to ponder the existential.” This statement mirrors Blaylock’s mission with this series but in reverse. Blaylock’s stated intent with this series is “to have fun,” and he delivers that message with Mercy’s humorous smart-mouth quips, her hideously hilarious looking ex-boyfriends and Mercy’s overall hot chick looks, but perhaps and really most likely as intended by Blaylock, we do get some “pondering of the existential” in this issue. Mercy ponders, not too deeply, but quite definitely, existential questions such as: why do we let ourselves fall into bad relationships with the opposite sex even though we suspect they’ll turn out bad with this particular individual anyway?; is it really bad to have a comfort zone like the Devil’s Due Pub is for Mercy, and do we really need to “get out of it” if it works?; and is a belief in a bigger overall plan, by God or whoever valid, and if there is a plan with a capital P for everybody, why are we sitting around in our own little “dumping ground” (our current states) as Mercy refers to Sheol, waiting and wasting away if this Plan exists? These are pretty important questions that aren’t easily answered, but Blaylock may be suggesting a bit of a compromise between the potential positive and negative answers to the above questions. As Mercy discovers, with the force of a slap to the face, literally, Earth does exist, there is a Plan by someone who’s in charge, even though we’ll see as the series progresses that whoever is in charge isn’t always apparent, and the nature of the Plan may not be completely discernible. It may require your active input it to make it work. So, for all of Mercy’s cynicism, there might just be more out there to life than our little “comfort zones” and “droll and pathetic and miserable", in Mercy’s words, lives. It just might take getting a good slap of reality to the face, and a little “get off you behind” and do something self-motivation. After all isn’t existence what we make of it?
Okay, all that might be a little bit more of a heavier message than Blaylock might be intending, and one Mercy would undoubtedly roll her eyes at, at this point in her development but hey, good art and storytelling should have a point and it looks like Mercy Sparx definitely has one. This is a perfect series to have fun reading. It's most definitely great escapism, but if you’re not careful you might learn something too. Check it out.
Rating: 9 /10