By Andy Frisk
May 3, 2009 - 20:14
While most will cite Hack/Slash as Devil’s Due Publishing’s best title, Mercy Sparx: Under New Management is my vote for its best new title, soon to overtake Hack/Slash as their best running title.
For the uninitiated, Mercy Sparx is a hard drinking, two fisted battling, hottie of a devil chick from Sheol ( a sort of limbo for those too good to go to Hell but to bad for Heaven) with sexy angel wing and halo tattoos. Hey, if you’re already a devil chick, why get a devil tattoo? Get something that makes you bad-ass, and is the antithesis of who you are, right? Right on. While she also is highly, and quite humorously, cynical and a hilarious smart-mouth, one can’t help but suspect that there’s a good heart buried in her well endowed chest somewhere.
DDP’s Free Comic Book Day offering is actually the first issue of Mercy’s new series. Along with the first part of her new adventures, we get a short two page summary of Mercy’s previous series titled “Downloading…A Mercy Sparx Re-Cap As Told By Mercy Sparx” which, told in Mercy’s signature flippant and smartass style, is a funny, first person narrative, which not only re-caps the previous published issues of her adventures, but gives away the ending of the previous series since issue #4 hasn’t been published yet! Ah, the joys of smaller press runs…actually, this kinda stuff happens with the big boys too so we’ll just have to deal. Don’t worry, there’s a spoiler alert.
Next we get issue #1’s proper tale, which continues her adventures, but which we can’t really look at too closely here because it will spoil issue # 4 of Mercy Sparx when it finally hits the stand. We can take a look at a few events of note though: Mercy uses her aforementioned well endowed chest, while playing a dumb blonde, in order to get some info out of a dude and fails, but what a funny attempt it is; gets into a fight with a hottie female angel and decks her with brass knuckles that leave the word ASS imprinted on the victim’s face, and are made from melted down halos; refers to one of the angels she trounces as “Lady Gaga,” derogatorily referring to her outfit (most of the angel chicks Mercy has had to beat up on are Muse Angels so are usually Ravers, DJ’s, artists, etc and since Mercy is 100% punk/hard rock, well…you get the analogy at work here…); makes fun of angel speak, “Who the hell says ‘smite’ anymore?”; and remarks that, “aside from comics and band posters I’m not much for appreciating the arts” while trashing an art gallery in a battle with “Lady Gaga.” God, I think I’m in love with Mercy!
What I am seriously in love with is the great time I have while reading this book. I have to admit I’ve laughed out loud a few times. Something about this book that I love even more though is Merhoff’s art. His pencils and layouts are simple, but not simplistic. His drawings of Mercy and her angelic opponents are purposely cartoony, but cartoony in the way that “devil girl” tattoo art is. I’ve seen plenty examples of this style in tattoo parlors I’ve frequented while getting ink done, and come to think of it Mercy herself would make a rockin’ tattoo.
After all this talk of tattoo art, brass knuckles with ASS engraved on them backward, and a wise cracking hottie devil chick, you might be thinking it’s a kiddie and/or adolescent throwaway mag, and in many ways it is (well, its not really for the kiddies), but its just too much fun, and the pop art angels and devils are just to well drawn to overlook. Josh Blaylock himself states in this issues column, “have mercy” that, “…if you like characters that curse too much, drink too much, have tattoos and fight lots of hot angel girls in skimpy outfits (and angel boys too), I ask you to plunk down a few bucks for more Mercy.” Amid all these tattoos, beers and brawls there is a story that has the makings, early on at least, of shaping up to be pretty complex without loosing site of the humor that makes this book so fun. Blaylock also states, “I do confess, though, that there’s an actual over-arching epic story in there somewhere too, but I promise to keep the stuff you actually come back for-skin and action.” Again, definitely not a book for the kiddies (although there is NO nudity –as of yet) but definitely a book for older guys and gals who like to rock, and think Lady Gaga is a little silly (if admitting that hers’ and other DJ’s tunes are a guilty pleasure sometimes, as Blaylock does), to come back to again and again for the skin, action, humor, AND story. I will be.
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Rating: 8 /10