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Review: Masks #8

20130706-002925.jpgI desperately wanted Masks to be good. In a pop culture world dominated by household names like The Avengers and Justice League, the thought of an ensemble cast of second tier pulp heroes sounded refreshing (toy store shelves aren’t exactly lined with Green Lama action figures). Alas, the result was a cluttered, shallow 8-part series that failed to live up to its ambitious start.

Like most pulp fiction, Masks takes place in a 1930s New York City filled with corrupt cops and bought-out judges. The Justice Party has emerged as a political front in control of the Bureau of Investigation, a law enforcement organization tasked with ‘cleansing’ the city of non conformists, a la Nazi Germany. Enter, stage right, the menagerie of vigilantes hellbent on saving the day, from the familiar (The Shadow, Zorro) to the unknown (again, Green Lama?).

Chris Roberson‘s story suffers from a self inflicted wound…the more characters you add, the less space you have to develop them. I felt like the most common introduction was a rooftop jump into a fight scene, “you guys need any help?” If you’re looking for that kind of action, you’ve come to the right place, because most of the series was spent fighting goons. The 8th and final book makes a decent attempt at adding depth and reason to our recently-revealed mastermind, but that was the kind of backstory I was looking for the entire series.

The artwork, while beautifully painted by Alex Ross in the first book (and on most covers for that matter), became relatively tame once Dennis Calero took the helm. The lines were too clean and colors too bright for a gritty Big Apple pulp.

Great concept, but flawed execution. I doubt this is the last we’ve seen of these superheroes, but let’s hope they can work out the kinks the next time around.

Story: Chris Roberson Art: Dennis Calero
Story: 6 Art: 6 Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

Dynamite Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review