Masked Vol. 1 – Anomalies (Titan)

Masked_Vol1_jpg_size-600

CREDIT: Titan Books

Rating: 3.5/5 – A Good Start, But is it Enough to Make People Want More?
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Al Sparrow

I love Titan Publishing, so I’m going to get that bit of bias out of the way right up front. They make gorgeous books that you’re not only proud to put in a prominent place on your bookshelf, but also happy to take them off that shelf to read again and again. Whether they’re introducing me to new and talented creators or repackaging a piece of comic book history, I’m always quick to head to their small niche in the back of the Previews catalog to see what I’ll likely be spending my money on each month. Unfortunately, my love for them may have turned me fickle, or perhaps it’s made me more demanding, because now that I’ve seen how high they can raise the bar, I expect nothing less than being put in an absolute state of awe with every title they put out.

Masked: Anomalies is a good start to another potential jewel in Titan’s crown. Writer Serge Lehman has created a not-too-distant future epic described as “Superman meets Blade Runner,” and I don’t know that I could say it much better than that. Heroes walk among us, but they walk in relative secrecy. At the same time, robots are becoming more self-aware…and perhaps self-creating? The usual concepts lurk deep within this book – What is humanity? What does it mean to truly be alive? Who gets to judge such questions? – but at this point they’re merely lurking. And that’s where the problem with the book lies.

Stories like this demand a commitment from their readers. If you’re in, you need to be prepared to be in for the long haul, because all the cards are clearly not on the table by the time you get to the last page. With only 44 pages of actual story content (and some supplemental material helping define the world), I’m not sure there’s enough here to keep readers wanting to come back for more. There are characters, and they’re interesting enough, but we’re not given enough time with any of them to really form any sort of identifying bond. A good story needs at least a few people, whether heroes or villains, who you actually care about, and if they’re in this book, I haven’t found them yet.

So is Masked: Anomolies actually worth your time? It’s a good story, with the amazing artwork that’s pretty much a staple of Titan’s books, but it needs more time to get going. I would like to have seen this as a collection of all four advertised volumes in the series. It’s a shame that a book with this much potential has to bank its fortune on this first installment in the series, because I’m not sure that’s enough to entice me to want to pick up volume two.

Reviewed by: Al Sparrow
(al@comicspectrum.com
)
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