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Maskerade Volume 01 Main

"Maskerade Volume 1" Comic Review

Written by Joel Harley

Published by Dark Horse


Originally published as Maskerade #1 - #4

Written by Kevin Smith and Andy McElfresh
Illustrated by John Sprengelmeyer
Colored by Giulia Brusco
Lettered by Andrew Thomas
2022, 96 pages
Trade Paperback released on 14th June 2023


Collecting the first four issues of Kevin Smith and Andy McElfesh's violent vigilante thriller Maskerade – the story of a futuristically besuited antihero, her glamorous alter-ego and the victims on her hit list.

Those with previous experience of Smith's film and comic book work will know roughtly what to expect - this is the man whose Batman story retconned the Dark Knight into pissing himself during his infamous Year One speech, after all. Snappy dialogue, vulgar humour and a side-order of extreme violence; it's all here, folks. Smith and McElfresh's vengeful vigilante might be dealing with serious business, but you wouldn't know it from the dialogue – threatening to fart in an associate's face and making juvenile period gags ("either I need a tampon... or I got shot!"). Who contributed exactly what to the script is unclear, but Smith's fingerprints are all over the thing.

When not stealing faces and kidnapping shady businessmen (think Deadpool crossed with Darkman), Felicia Day is a successful television and social media personality, catfishing unsuspecting perverts for her To Catch a Predator rip-off, Bye Felicia. The book follows newscaster Dwayne as he becomes romatically and professionally involved with Felicia – a subplot that becomes increasingly tedious as the more interesting main conspiracy is revealed.

Click images to enlarge.

As illustrated by John Sprengelmeyer and coloured by Giulia Brusco, the artwork gives the story the vibrant, lurid imagery it deserves. Sprengelmeyer's blocky cartoon work work won't be to all tastes (think TV's Archer, but clunkier) but it keeps things bright and snappy. More distracting is Sprengelmeyer's habit of styling his female characters after real-world TV personalities (including Meghan Markle as Felica Day and Dame Helen Mirren as her guillt-ridden ally, plus Jennifer Aniston for two or three panels) - a habit that becomes especially egregious in the last couple of chapters. I can't say I ever wanted or needed to see a comic book in which Meghan Markle jokes about farting in Dame Helen Mirren's face, but here we are.

Maskerade is Kevin Smith operating at near peak Kevin Smith; a book full of pop culture references, scatological humour and often-cringeworthy dialogue. But at least this original creation demeans no-one but himself, leaving the likes of Marvel and DC unsullied (in the book's introduction, Smith explains how the project was initially pitched as a TV adaptation of a popular DC/Warner Brothers character). Still, fans of Smith's work will get plenty of bang for their buck here, and there is enough going on to entertain all but the loudest of detractors.

Don't get too attached to the thing though. In one of the worst cases of anticlimax I have ever encountered in a comic book, this first volume closes out on a baffling (lack of) cliffhanger – to the point where I wondered whether my review edition might be missing a few pages. It just... ends


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Art: twoandahalfstars
Overall: 4.5 Star Rating

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About The Author
Joel Harley
Staff Reviewer - UK
Haribo fiend, Nicolas Cage scholar and frequently functioning alcoholic. These are just some of the words which can be used to describe Joel Harley. The rest, he uses to write film criticism for Horror DNA and a variety of websites and magazines. Sometimes he manages to do so without swearing.
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