Epeolatry Book Review: Maskerade #6 by Kevin Smith and Andy McElfresh
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Title: Maskerade #6
Writers: Kevin Smith, Andy McElfresh
Artist: Giulia Gualazzi
Colorist: Giulia Brusco
Cover Artist: John Sprengelmeyer
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Publication Date: June 28, 2023
Synopsis: Maskerade drops off her latest quarry, then drops out of reality, where all the ghosts of the past come pouring out. Frisky confesses her connection to Ditt, having paved his hellish road with her own good intentions. And it’s all about to come to a head, live and in lurid color, at 8 Eastern, 7 Central.
I’m the eternal optimist when it comes to comic books. All the ingredients are there for me to love them, but often, I have trouble getting drawn into the story line. It was more disappointing when I was a kid, because, being a misfit, I kinda felt that comic book readers were my “people”.
As an adult, though, I at least have the framework, and I know why I’m pretty discriminating about the kind of comic books/graphic novels I now read.
But I still sometimes feel like I’m far out in left field. Like the last one picked for the team back in early school days.
It’s the same way with Maskerade #6 (and the premise of the miniseries as a whole) by Dark Horse Comics.
I’ll start with the cover, to avoid any spoilers. There’s a character dressed in a svelte suit that just so happens to show off all the curves. The detailed waist section suggests a binding corset. The counterargument could be made that the character needs a more ninja-like flexibility in their garb (I’m not buying it), but it’s also a little misleading.
And now I find myself doing what I strive to avoid—comment on what a woman-identified character is wearing. Because the costume choice is just so absurd. (At least the character looks like they are wearing shoes they can run in.)
It says space suit to me, but when you get into the story, it’s apparently supposed to be more like body armor for a warrior or a mercenary. And, sigh—I mean, haven’t we retired the boob armor by now? So, yeah, that’s disappointing all on its own.
I scanned enough of the miniseries’ previous issues to get an idea of the backstory, but Maskerade #6 still doesn’t seem to be very cohesive. The story line is all over the place, and I can’t get as deep into the story as I would have liked, and from more than just the fact that I read this first before going back and taking a peek at the previous issues. It just seems… frenetic—yeah, that’s the word. There’s so much crammed into the 32 pages, especially around the middle section of the book, and it’s a lot to take in.
And, to reference the corset effect from above, there is a lot of corseting going on, apparently. Because, despite the armor, the character is injured, and is naked (of course) and the voluptuousness seems to be played up for the viewer. Because, you know, severe injuries are no excuse not to lounge around provocatively, ya know. And, I tell ya, a teeny weeny aqua blue bikini is the last thing I would be wearing under that full-on suit of armor. I’d rather be going commando then wearing that skimpy piece of instant wedgie nonsense. Practically speaking, how on earth would they even get the suit off the character to treat the injuries? Like, if it’s some sort of tensile armor, they couldn’t cut it off her easily. I was imagining the medical team having to peel it off her, like skinning an apple. Ouch. And I like suspension of disbelief as much as the next person, but I also like it treated with a measure of scientific reality, and that suit just doesn’t cut it, in my book (or any other).
Now, after all that wardrobe bashing, I liked the paper doll effect on the cover. That was fun and different, but I would have liked a clearer connection to the “masks” displayed on the cover in the actual issue itself. Like, maybe that cover would have suited one of the earlier issues more than this one.
I think, though, while not a full redemption of Maskerade #6, I enjoyed the layout and story pacing of the last three pages. That part carried the atmospheric quality I tend to expect from comics—where the art supports the story, and vice versa. However, the color choices and the art on the inside were a little muted to be the “lurid color” as promised in the synopsis. Overall, more attention could have been paid to that interplay throughout the rest of the issue.
Lastly, I ended up feeling like I missed something while reading this out of sequence, as a standalone. Were the events in the issue televised or broadcast live on social media? By the end of the issue, I was left out, and in left field.
Available from Amazon.
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“Bringer of Nightmares and Storms.” Horror writer Willow Croft is usually lurking deep in the shadows of her writer cave, surrounded by formerly feral (but still fierce!) cats for company. Visit her here: http://willowcroft.blog, or check out her other services here: https://kirsten-lee-barger.mailchimpsites.com/.