Story: Mirka Andolfo
Art: Mirka Andolfo with color assist by Gianluca Papi
Letterer: Fabio Amerlia
What They Say:
When the placid mining village of Woodsburgh is disturbed by a series of brutal murders, the settlement is in turmoil. And as the first snow covers the chaos in a white blanket, a mysterious woman in black arrives, eliciting a totally different kind of unrest. But who is Lady Hellaine, really? And what’s her secret agenda?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
While I read a lot of books from a lot of different creators, there are few that I’ll just pick up sight unseen and without doing some research on first. Mirka Andolfo produced some of the most stunning issues of the DC Bombshells series a few years ago and it’s had me loving her style ever since. Every project brings its own uniqueness and with her Mercy series, being near-simulpublished in Italy last year and this year in France and the US, we get something that’s creator-owned and absolutely delightful. The faith in the project and belief in it even had them putting together a stunning lengthy live-action trailer you can see below. Andolfo is someone who has wowed me as an artist but this is the first series of hers that I’ve seen with her writing it and it, by all appearances, is going to be a fascinating journey into it with so much to explore. Almost too much to explore.
There’s no real general premise here because so many elements are being introduced in this opening issue. Taking place in Woordsburgh, Washington, we initially see how Lady Swanson and some of those working with her are fighting to the death against something that has killed her husband in the mines and they’re about to blow it up in order to stop it. That thing may have been ended there but there are other forces afoot that are bringing some flavor of it back to life, which will come to haunt the present-day storyline eventually. Years after that explosion, there are still many that care not for Swanson and her ilk even as they come to pay respects to the honoring of the dead from it. Small town politics are part to play are social issues and we see how she does her best trying to stay above it all and be proper. But we also see how she tries to help others in small ways, such as the orphan whose story we follow along here.
That girl, Rory, lost her parents over the years and was taken in by an “uncle” that now works her and many other orphans to the bone in his underground business. We see how hard life is for Rory and many like her and why she sticks with it as she does because, unlike others in her situation, she does have a place to sleep inside and get some sliver of food. The story eventually crosses paths, briefly, with a new arrival in town with Lady Hellaine. Coming in a carriage being run by Mr. Goodwill who is ensuring that she puts on a proper show of who she is as part of a larger plan, we understand the facade that they’re putting up when they kill one of the stagehands that they came across along the way. It doesn’t quite speak to vampiric feeding but it’s an exercise of power and kind of restraint in how they do so. And with arriving in Woodsburgh, Hellaine feels like she knows more of this place than she realizes, which with what we’ve seen in flashbacks and other story points could be quite dangerous.
Mirka Andolfo is throwing a lot at the reader here and breaking it into several chunks that cross paths over the course of the issue. Each offers little tidbits of what’s going on and explores the characters themselves so that we understand them. Rory is the orphan, Swanson dealing with dangers of the past that are coming back, and Hellaine representing something new coming to town that may have a deeper connection. There are so many ways things can go and so many interactions that can alter courses that I’m excited to see what’s next and how it’s going to move forward because there’s an unpredictability about it. Andolfo’s artwork is gorgeous throughout and warrants the overall grade alone with how Swanson is presented as well as the relationship between Goodwill and Hellaine that really has me curious to see the truth of it. This is going to be potentially one of my favorite books of 2020.
Age Rating: 12+
Released By: Image Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: March 4th, 2020