When I was introduced to the Mantle comics, I was at first a little bewildered. There was the immediate turmoil and confusion in the first issue with Robbie dying, and then the immediate pursuit of Jen in the second issue. I began reading this third piece with a little bit of a feeling like the story was being far too rushed, with little to no background to grasp onto. By the end of the second issue I was grasping at straws. I still had no REAL answers, tons of questions, and Jen is seeing Robbie in a bar in purgatory.
Wait, what? Purgatory is a city? Hmm…pretty sure that isn’t what my cute little Jewish grandmother told me Purgatory was like. Instead of emptiness, there were buildings everywhere. Just a big city, and lots of ghosts. Or would they be called spirits? Regardless, Jen was just as surprised as I was, but nevertheless happy to see her boyfriend again.
They’re in Purgatory to find the “OG Mantle,” who was the first of the kind. In their search for answers, Necra and Jen find him slumped over a table, drunk and ornery. Not surprising, although one would think that alcohol would not exist in a midway between life and death. With his tale (which he implies that Necra forces him to tell often), readers learn about how he was suddenly chosen by a mystical force and he became a superhero, so to speak. His refusal to kill the Plague when he was a mere blow away from defeating him put a curse of a sort on the entire line of Mantles. Sounding kind of Salem-Witch-Trials-y in this one, minus the burning, adding skull smashing, which seems to be the Plague’s favorite way to kill his victims.
Jen is now facing the ultimate conflict; will she give up her life to save millions or will she hide forever and let the Plague be just that, a murderous plague of hatred and destruction until she hands herself over to him? One question I have that has yet to be answered is why did this guy come around? It wasn’t until after the first Mantle refused to kill him that he had anything to say about a curse. He even asked to be killed. The aggressiveness with which he pursues those touched with this awesome and incredible power leads me to believe that whatever or whoever gives the Mantles their powers has likely done some serious wrongs to the Plague. In the end of this issue, we come face to face with the Plague as he holds all the other rebels (for lack of a better name) in his clutches, leaving Shadow to decide if he will give up Jen’s location, or if all of them will die. Only time and reading further will tell what happens next. Hopefully the fourth installment to this line will shed some light and answers on my rattled mind, as well as yours, readers.
The Mantle Issue #3
Writer/Letterer: Ed Brisson
Artist/Cover: Brian Level
Colors: Jordan Boyd
Now available from Image comics!