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Mystique #4

Posted: Wednesday, July 30, 2003
By: Paul Brian McCoy



“Drop Dead Gorgeous part 4”

Writer: Brian K. Vaughn
Artist: Jorge Lucas

Publisher: Marvel

Plot:
In Cuba, Mystique is undercover to track down and destroy a government program involving black-market Soviet Sentinels. While there she crosses paths with a group of dissident families whose mutant children have gone missing.

Comments:
This series just keeps getting better and better. The characterization of Mystique can come off a little overly blasé at times, and her one-liners are a little hard to take sometimes, but it is enjoyable nonetheless. Mutant James Bonds are hard to come by apparently. The character of Shortpack, whose origin and name are both given attention this month, is a bit odd. Not only is he a short-range telepath, but he must practice special exercises to keep from shrinking out of existence. The character is really more of a gimmick than a character, but he serves his purpose well as Mystique’s Cuban contact. Vaughn’s writing is smooth and well-paced, as we get see Mystique in action quite a few times this issue, and the story is becoming more complex with each passing month. A couple of nice touches are the moments when she tells Shortpack that her clothing is an extension of her body, so she’s always naked, and the vaguely creepy reference to one of my favorite Cronenberg films, Videodrome.

Lucas’ artwork is quickly making him a favorite of mine. I may have to go back and pick up his Wolverine mini. There is a nice classic cut to his jib, if you will, with subtle line-work and solid storytelling skills. What really makes an artist stand out for me is if I can keep track of what’s going on without the dialogue. This doesn’t invalidate the writer, this compliments the writer. If the reader can follow the action, then said reader doesn’t need a pile of narration covering up the page. The story is allowed to flow in a more cinematic way, with dialogue and voice-overs providing insight into character and forwarding the plot while the cinematography and staging keep the audience engaged and everything moving. In case you haven’t noticed, I really dig what Marvel’s doing with their movie-metaphor approaches.

Final Word:
I’m buying it. It’s a nice use of a character that some writers are overwhelmed by. There’s lots of good action and exciting spy hi-jinks (would that be spy-jinks?). Here’s to hoping that somewhere down the road, Mystique’s casual gender switching is addressed in some detail. That might be interesting.



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