Monday, May 30, 2016

Mystery Girl - a Mini-Series by Dark Horse Comics

Mystery Girl is one of those comic book mini-series that I picked up based solely on the title.  I love mysteries, I love comics, so combine the two, and it's pretty much a given for me.  I was aware from the brief description of the series that it would be about a young woman who has the uncanny ability to know anything about a person and solve any mystery they might have just by being in their proximity, and that she knew nothing about how she can do what she can do.  Other than that, the rest was ... well, for lack of a better work, a mystery.

Trine Hampstead has carved a name for herself by helping people on the streets of London solve any mystery they have.  As her little sign says:  "All Mysteries Revealed!!  Everything Solved (Already) No Questions Asked."  And by "no questions asked," she means that no one is allowed to ask her how she knows what she knows.  Whether it's finding misplaced objects, locating missing bodies, or finding the location of some preserved mammoths in Siberia, there's pretty much nothing Trine cannot do - except tell people how it is she can do what she does.  That is the one mystery that she is unable to solve.

The mini-series follows Trine as she agrees to help a scientist locate some alleged mammoths still preserved under the ice of Siberia.  Also there are some journals that reveal the identity of the true owners of the lands where the mammoths are found.  Journals that a very unscrupulous man would kill to obtain, and so he sends an agent of his by the name of Linford to ensure that Trine and the scientist do not recover them - or, if they do, to steal them from the women and leave them to die in the cold of Siberia. Could this spell the end of Trine?  Has she solved her final mystery?

Paul Tobin provides a very enjoyable story, perfectly paced in the four issues, with no superfluous fluff to pad the story, nor does it feel rushed in any way.  The supporting cast is fun and diverse, and the villains are sly and menacing.  Tobin has definitely created a character that should (and hopefully will!) have more stories to tell.  Trine Hampstead is tough as nails, a bit sarcastic, and yet, she is always willing to take the time to help the little guy solve even the smallest of mysteries.  She could possibly be the best new character in comics in 2016.

The art by Alberto J. Alburquerque and Marissa Louise is beautifully rendered and very fitting for the story.  The characters are drawn distinctly and with their own unique physical appearances (unlike some artists of today, whose faces and bodies seem to be interchangeable), and the settings are detailed and vivid.  I certainly hope any future stories of Mystery Girl and drawn by these two talents!

It is books like this that really remind me why I enjoy the independent publishers and their books so much more than those titles published by "the big two."

RATING:  9 flights to Siberia out of 10 for giving me a brand new detective with a unique twist that I can enjoy (would have been 10 out of 10 had this been an ongoing series, rather than a mini!)

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