Review: Mystery Society (TPB)
Mystery Society was published as a trade paperback in 28 December, 2010 by IDW publishing, scripted by comic book writer Steve Niles, known by his contributions to the horror genre of comic books such as 30 Days of Night and Criminal Macabre, and illustrated by comic book artists Ashley Wood and Fiona Staples. The paperback comprises of all five issues throughout the series running since May 2010.
The story revolves around the Mystery Society, a group founded by Nick Hammond and Anastasia Collins, a couple dedicated to debunking myths and government conspiracies, one of which in the concerned course of events involved two black girls of unspoken potential kept under deep cryogenic freezing in Area 51. Breaking them out landed Nick Hammond as the nation’s public enemy number one, more than the Mystery couple could contend with right then, what with the robbery of Edgar Allan Poe’s skull as well as the introduction of the Society’s newest members: a ghoul previously named Samantha Brooks, and now going by the Secret Skull; and a steampunk affair holding the brain of the late French author Jules Verne.
For a comic book, it holds a great deal of references concerning comic books as well as late writers, namely the skull of Edgar Allan Poe; Jules Verne, or rather, what was left of him; and a H. G. Wells bust, well in line with the couple’s previous line of work running a bookstore. As an establishment dealing with the unknown, it was a wonder that the founders of the Mystery Society showed no hesitation insinuating new members into their affairs without going through proper background checks. Other than sufficing as evidence to justify the existence of ghouls, Secret Skull held the air of either an undead assassin or a gravedigger, while her robot acquaintance, aside from holding the alleged brain of Jules Verne and speaking with a French accent, simply fell from a blimp, and In doing so, probably shifted its brain out of alignment, leading the robot into assuming the identity of a renowned pioneer of science fiction. Chaotic though it might seem, the pair did share their moments throughout; being stopped by a police officer, for instance, for Secret Skull’s exceeding the speed limit while riding a motorcycle with Jules Verne the robot in a sidecar, and the uncanny duo were forced to take up pretense as a comic book geek with her robot prop on their way to a comic book convention.
While Nick Hammond was mostly seen flirting with the government, Anastasia Collins demonstrated her womanly ways as a mother figure to the twins, kept secret from the general public for fifty years or so. A loving couple, a point emphasized throughout the story, Nick Hammond and Anastasia Collins were the equivalent, so to speak, of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in Mr. and Mrs. Smith, balanced between their love for the conspiratorial and their own abilities to fend for themselves when it bit back, as shown extensively in the first issue.
The Mystery Society is entertaining in its own right, fast-paced and witty at certain points, and it certainly holds true to the general image of a family of uncannies, despite the rushed recruitments; the Fantastic Four, for instance, should come to mind.