EXCLAMATION: "A really delayed (by a month) Christmas gift for your local spy story aficionado!"
EXAMINATION (Story): A few months back while reviewing issue #4 of this series, I began my review by stating “Best read all issues in one sitting, NOT as singles”. Following the story as it came out (i.e. in singles format), I felt that the four parts (now five) don't have quite the same effect individually as they do together.
Well, with the upcoming release of the Left on Mission trade-paperback, readers, both old and new, have yet another chance to do just that--read the story in its entirety.
Right off the mark I would like to make a minor change to my exclamatory statement. Instead of “in one sitting,” I would suggest reading the work “all together.” Although there might not be all that much of an apparent difference in the general meaning of the two, there actually is. Why? For the simple reason that this is a heavy read.
As with any spy mystery-thriller worth its salt, Chip Mosher's Left on Mission is chock full of plot elements that, at first glance, might not seem important but which come back into play at a later time. These elements include not only the events but also the characters involved in the events. Even after having read all issues individually, I still found something new this time around--something that I missed in my previous reading(s).
On the flip side, while the detailed nature of the story does make for an (ultimately) interesting read, it also tends to teeter very close to crossing the line between detailed and . . . well, boring. This feeling seems to taper off with each issue but grows with too long a sitting. Hence my suggestion about taking your time to read the story.
As I mentioned in my review of issue #4, Left on Mission isn't an action blockbuster type of spy story. It is very street in its feel, very gritty. That doesn’t mean it lumbers along without any energy. Quite the contrary.
Sure it has its dips, and a start that isn't all that inspiring or attention-grabbing, but none of the troughs are deep enough or long enough to take away from the overall experience. Not too much anyway.
Lastly, and without completing spoiling the last issue, the ending of Left on Mission fits with the general tone of the story even though it might not sit well with everyone. A different (i.e. upbeat) ending might have come across as the writer trying to force out a possible sequel.
Moreover, given how the issue begins, the emotional effect of the final few pages is all the more hard-hitting. Readers just might empathize with the main protagonist. I know I did.
EXAMINATION (Art): Artist Francesco Francavilla's gritty, slightly rough style makes for a nice complement to the story. Sure, it started off more on the rough, lacking-in-details side but, as the story progressed, so did the overall quality and depth of the visuals. Ditto for the Martin Thomas's colors.
PROCLAMATION: Even though it doesn't have me grappling to get my hands on any and every type of spy drama (print, video, or other), Left on Mission does get a place in my list of “suggested reads” for the espionage aficionados in my circle of family and friends.
You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at www.xcave.net
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!