Titan's Masked gives us a unique look at a world of superheroes

FTC Statement: Reviewers are frequently provided by the publisher/production company with a copy of the material being reviewed.The opinions published are solely those of the respective reviewers and may not reflect the opinions of CriticalBlast.com or its management.

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. (This is a legal requirement, as apparently some sites advertise for Amazon for free. Yes, that's sarcasm.)

 
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
StumbleUpon icon
Del.icio.us icon
Reddit icon
e-mail icon

I will admit, I had never heard of Masked (or the original French series which was called Masqué). But Titan had sent us a press release saying it was like "Superman meets Blade Runner." So I decided to check it out.

This collection is translated versions of Masqué 1-4. Clearly the originals were not "full length" comics, as we tend to view them in America. This entire collection is only 48 pages.

Masked Vol. 1 - Anomalies

Written by: Serge Lehman
Penciled by: Stephane Crety
Inked by: Julien Hogonnard-Bert
Colored by: Gaetan Georges
Lettered by: Kirsten Murphy
Translated by: Edward Gauvin

Published by: Titan
Cover Price: $14.99

Warning! This review contains quite a few spoilers!

Up front, I will say that I really enjoyed this comic. At its core, it deals with big issues like the trauma of coming home from war and how terrorist actions can force a society to act in ways you would not expect them too. Sergeant Braffort was one of only two survivors when his squadron was sent to investigate a mysterious force destroying the animal and plant life on the border of Russia and Georgia. Braffort realized something was horribly wrong here, but the military brass refused to send back up. His team was slaughtered by a whirling heavily armed machine buried under the ground. The only reason Braffort survived was that something fired two beams of red light at the machine blowing it up.  I am assuming that's heat vision, though it's never spelled out for us.

Braffort and the other survivor (named Tales) are basically both screwed over by their bosses to cover up the incident. Tales ends up quitting the military, and getting herself thrown in jail. Braffort is court martialled, dishonorably discharged, unemployed, and sleeping on his sister's couch.

While this is going on, mysterious anomalies start appearing all over the world. Including a giant mysterious man wearing a mask, top hat, and tuxedo. And a ghost riding a surfboard through the skies of Paris. Braffort is recruited by a mysterious group in the French Government who seem very interested in these anomalies. In the end, the anomalies also seem to be very interested in Braffort and the issue ends with Braffort absorbing energy from one of the anomalies and seeming to gain superpowers.

I often complain that not enough happens in comics these days, and the best part of this comic is that a ton of things happened in just 48 pages. We get a good setup, we get introduced to the main characters, and there are a lot of teases about what this world is all about. I was surprised by how little specific information they gave the reader, letting us figure things out on our own. Often, comics seem to spoon feed the reader everything, but Masked seems to have more respect for the reader's intelligence.

Actually, they may have tried to do a little too much in this comic.When I reached the end, I immediately had to read it again to see how it all fit back together. But, I think they succeeded at giving you just enough without overwhelming the reader. On a whole, this was a solid story with some great ideas behind it.  It did seem to end just as it was getting good, but I will admit that made me eager to come back for more.

I liked Stephane Crety's art on Masked. The world seems real well realized, especially all the real cool technology we get to see. It's clear this takes place sometime in the future, with real advanced war machines and flying cars, but they don't seem to try and beat you over the head with that information. I did think that the masked figure that kept appearing over Paris looked a little generic. Almost positive I've seen the exact same character in Astro City and other books, but that was a mild concern.  And the "Ghostracer" just reminds me how terrible a concept Silver Surfer is (though I love the character).  

There was one major issue I had with this issue was the cost. The digital version was 15 bucks. According to Titan, the print version was $9.99. As I said earlier, this was 48 pages long, and there were quite a few splash pages. Yes, the creative team did manage to get a lot in here, but at the end of the day, it still wasn't all that great a value. I would definitely want to read more of this series to see how it all plays out, but I definitely can't afford to spend that kind of money on one comic.

But, if you ignore the price tag, and focus just on the quality of the comic that is here, you will definitely enjoy this comic.

 

 

Oh, quick warning, this book does feature some nudity and cursing, so buyer beware!

 

Title: Masked Vol. #1 - Anomalies
Written By: Serge Lehman
Art By: Stephane Crety
Company: Titan
Price: $9.99 (print); $14.99 (digital)
Pros:
  • The premise is terrific and the execution was real good.
  • On a whole, the art is great.
  • There are some "big" issues here, but handled with a fine touch.
Cons:
  • Some of the "Masked" designs did look a little generic.  Not enough to ruin the book, but noticeable.
  • The cover price is way too high.
  • Ends just as the story seems to be getting good.
Is it worth your $14.99? Well, it was a terrific comic, but it's real hard to justify spending $15 for it. Hopefully Comixology will put it on sale soon.  
Grade: 
4.0 / 5.0