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"The Mask: I Pledge Allegiance to the Mask #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Dark Horse Comics

I Pledge Allegiance To The Mask 1 Large

Written by Christopher Cantwell
Illustrated by Patric Reynolds
Colored by Lee Loughridge
Lettered by Nate Piekos
2019, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on October 16th, 2019

Review:

Everyone's seen the cartoony comedy, The Mask, from 1994 starring Jim Carey, right? What a hoot that is with the crazy hijinks of mild-mannered Stanley Ipkiss transforming into a green-faced ball of energy. The Mask's origins are a bit darker and they've been revisited in a new series, I Pledge Allegiance to the Mask. We're taken back to Edge City as someone new picks up the creepy and mysterious item with sights set a bit higher.

As full disclosure, I was not all that familiar with The Mask outside of the movie before reading this book. Fortunately, writer Christopher Cantwell does a great job getting you up to speed without slogging through a ton of exposition to get there. Cantwell glosses over some of the key elements of previous stories, as characters speak to one another in a natural fashion, giving you just enough information to understand what's going on. Some players from those other stories are involved, but the focus is on the new folks.

Just in case you had any doubts as to whether or not The Mask should be talked about on a horror site, check out the first few pages showing this guy in action. Artist Patric Reynolds has created some of the most terrifying and creative kills I've seen all year. I'm certain that I will never look at a chocolate sundae the same way again.

I Pledge Allegiance To The Mask 1 01I Pledge Allegiance To The Mask 1 02I Pledge Allegiance To The Mask 1 03
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The gore is on full display in some cringe-worthy sequences sure to send a shiver down your spine. Shadow is used well to hide The Mask at first, showing this powerful and frightening visage descending upon his victims. It isn't until he gets outside that you see the twisted grin and beady eyes of this monster.

There's a gritty quality to most of this book that might surprise people that have only seen the movie. Yes, the violence can be over the top, but it's not the bright, shiny cartoon you might be familiar with. This is definitely a darker story, full of bad people doing bad things. Colorist Lee Loughridge emphasizes this with muted tones, even in the shining light of the day. The one exception to this, of course, is the bright green of The Mask that looks as unnatural and alarming as ever.

This quality is extended into the character's speech by letterer Nate Piekos. The Mask speaks in a guttural, vicious manner. It's shown in a wavy font in rough balloons, like it's a sweet growl.

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Click images to enlarge

The political angle that will probably take this series into the meat of its story picks up speed in the second half of this debut issue. Cantwell pulls from some real-life elements in terms of the current political landscape and the heated debates in the news to set the stage. Throwing The Mask into the works makes sense in a chilling way.

If this is what The Mask comics were like, I missed out big time. Fortunately, Dark Horse Comics has released some omnibus collections allowing me to check some of those older books out. In the meantime, this new series is creepy, gritty, and mixed with dark humor. It's a mashup of a crime story, a political thriller, and a horror tale in a sickly green package.

Grades:

Story: Fourandahalfstars I Pledge Allegiance To The Mask 1 Small
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Art: Fourandahalfstars
Overall: Fourandahalfstars

About The Author
Spez Bio 2
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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