Merc #1: A Bloody Sci-Fi Tale

Chelsea Novak

Merc #1 kicks off the new series from Zenescope Entertainment, following Sonny Grissom, a mercenary whose cybernetic upgrades are destroying his body. Despite his physical condition, Sonny is still in the game and when a woman representing the CDC shows up with a six-hundred-grand job retrieving a courier with stolen merchandise, he’s eager enough to take it. Unfortunately Booth, who sells organs and other body parts to the rich while harvesting his wares from anyone unfortunate enough to get in his way, also seems to have an interest in the courier and whatever it is the CDC is trying to get back.

Scripted by Jerrold E. Brown, this comic mostly reminds me of William Gibson’s Neuromancer. Sonny’s friend and partner, Buddha, jacks into a network via a plug in his head (think Matrix), while Sonny’s cybernetics pump him full of drugs. For the most part, Merc offers pretty standard science-fiction fare, although the one thing I do find strange is that Buddha refers to the CDC as “the angels,” accusing Sonny of trying to make amends before he dies by working for them. This would make the CDC one of the few government agencies— I assume they’re government, it’s not entirely explained yet— in science-fiction history to wear an angelically white hat.

The art of Merc, provided by Daniel Schneider, works well with the story. There are a few panels where character positioning is an issue, but there are also detailed, striking panels that help build the mood of Merc. I could have handled a little less gore, but this book probably wouldn’t live up to expectations without it.

Check back for an interview with Merc artist and Canadian Daniel Schneider.

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Chelsea Novak

Chelsea Novak’s work has appeared in Other Voices and Front & Center and in Geist. She lives in Vancouver.


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