Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Mystery Society by Steve Niles, art by Fiona Staples

Husband and wife team of Nick and Anastasia created the Mystery Society to uncover paranormal secrets.  They are in desperate need of others to join their group, and luckily, they are joined by Secret Skull (a ghoul), twin girls Nick freed from Area 51 and a robot with the brain of Jules Verne.  They'll need all the help they can get when Nick is framed for a crime he didn't commit.

Mystery Society is a five part series that has been gathered into one volume.  I was disappointed to find that there don't seem to be any more in the works.  Why ever not?!  It was such fun!

There are various adventures going on at once in Mystery Society.  First, we have Nick springing the twins from Area 51, while Anastasia fights off Secret Skull, who ends up being an ally.  Then Nick is framed for killing people during his raid of Area 51 and they're all on the run.  Meanwhile, someone has stolen the skull of Edgar Allan Poe, and Secret Skull and the robot with the brain of Jules Verne are off to retrieve it.

I loved Nick and Anastasia's relationship.  They're so in love with each other, and protective of each other, but also secure in how capable the other person is.  They have a real partnership, and work together well.  Besides Anastasia, we have three more very capable female characters.  Secret Skull is (or was, she's dead so it doesn't matter so much now) a women, as are the twins, who have hardcore supernatural powers.

Nick stresses the importance of not hurting people when it isn't necessary.  The twins at first want revenge for what was done to them, but Nick convinces them that that's not the way to go.

The "twist" at the end was a little lame.  The twins are hiding a secret from the Mystery Society!  Whatever could it be?  Are they, in fact, evil?  Aliens from another planet?  No, they're...actually only one person who was split into two.  So what?  Who cares?  Why was that a dramatic reveal?  So that part was meh, but otherwise I really enjoyed this and am sad there's no more for me to read.

The art is done by the fabulous Fiona Staples, who I love.  In Mystery Society, she used colored backwashes that connected to certain characters and feelings.  The coloring gave the world a washed out kind of feeling, which made me feel like things are not great with the world.  In contrast, panels where the Mystery Society was together were drawn in darker, more substantial colors, and with more detail.

Definitely recommended!

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