Merc #1


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Merc #1


  • Words: Jarrold E. Brown
  • Art: Daniel Schneider
  • Colors: COMICGUYS
  • Story Title: Broken World
  • Publisher: Zenescope Entertainment
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jan 13, 2010

Merc #1, written by Jerrold E. Brown with art by Daniel Schneider, tells the story of an over the hill mercenary, Sonny Grissom. In this post apocalyptic landscape, fourteen years prior, the ice caps melted and a virus killed millions. Clients employ the use of Mercs for their dangerous deeds.

Mercs are voluntarily enhanced men, making them more human than the average bodyguard. They become supplemented with drugs, replacement appendages and attachable weapons. They essentially become cyborgs to get the job done. The only down side is that a Merc’s life span is generally low and if you’re lucky enough to last that long, the modifications to one’s physiology take their toll in very painful and terminal ways.  You live short, but you live good. That’s the pitch, but Sonny has a different story to tell.

After a violent and predictable opening, the book really starts to shine narrative-wise, having Sonny interrupt a sales pitch to a young would-be Merc.  The reader is given a chance to see a before and after of this painful existence and given a real idea as to what it takes to get a man to agree to this. What kind of demons would he be hiding, or in contrast, what kind of demon can convince someone to embrace this life? It is a great question that the book only starts to address and, in all hopes, doesn’t abandon for the sake of some skull-cracking in future issues.

The subsequent “next job” comes into play and our protagonist makes the choice to spread himself dangerously too thin. The job itself is for the CDC, which is an assignment revealed to have an emotional connection to Sonny. He shakes off the mention of it and we’re off. Needless to say, this story detail is bound to come into play, eventually.

Merc #1 is a solid opening act into a larger and fun science fiction action vehicle. More Running Man than Blade Runner, but sci-fi action, nonetheless. This book’s popcorn approach to the material acts as a strength, reveling in its over the top violence and plot development. This is a story we’ve heard before, but that doesn’t hinder it from being more than mildly entertaining.

The art by Daniel Schneider serves the story well and in some panels is reminiscent of Ron Garney, infused with a little bit of Darick Robertson with a lighter line. Unfortunately, some of the character designs are lacking, especially that of Sonny Grissom in full battle mode. The red sunglasses and giant robotic arm, meeting at the shoulder with a large red medallion-like circle, looks like the creative team took the most popular X-Men character designs from the 1990s and just pieced Sonny together. If this nostalgic feel is what they’re aiming for, then they hit the mark. But, adversely, it is aggressively jarring and a little hokey looking at first.

This distraction, however, is not lasting and there is a fun little action story underneath. As long as future issues are able to expand on the mythology that’s set up and on the character’s origins, then this could turn into a fun summertime read. Just keep Mr. Grissom in a coat until it is absolutely necessary for him to get his Cable on. 

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