Dynamite is bringing together some of the most iconic masked men in comics history for the first time. The Spider, Green Hornet, Kato, Zorro, and The Shadow will be dealing out their brand of justice in Masks, and Chris Roberson has them off to a pretty good start in this first issue.
The story starts with Green Hornet and Kato in New York while on the trail of a Chicago mob boss. They end up crossing paths with The Shadow, who delivers a tip to where their target might be. When the men meet up as civilians is when Roberson takes the time to set the story up and give us the reason for these men coming together. Their common foe is the Justice Party, which has swept the elections and has the law on their side. Some very high profile criminals are among their ranks, as well as a large specialized law enforcement agency to back up their new laws for the citizens of New York.
Roberson handles the large cast with ease while giving us a nice balance of exposition and action to keep the story exciting. The dialog is excellent, and Lamont Cranston (The Shadow) has one of the best lines in the entire issue while having drinks with Britt Reid (Green Hornet). There is quite a bit of talk regarding the word “justice” and its meaning to specific individuals, but Roberson keeps things from getting preachy and heavy handed, and just lets the reader have fun in this 1930s era story. Though it did seem a bit odd that a man like the Green Hornet didn’t bat an eye when The Shadow shot and killed a man, and seemed pretty much at ease with it again later on in the issue.
There is nothing I can say regarding Alex Ross’s artwork that has not been said already during his extensive career. This is just another in the long list of great looking issues that he’s worked on. His work here captures the time period beautifully, and his attention to detail is definitely a key factor in that. From his panel framing and use of perspective, to the action taking place inside, you will be more than satisfied with what you get. Though if this is your first time seeing anything from Ross, prepare to be amazed.
The mere fact that all of these characters will be in this series should be more than enough for anyone to give it a try. If you’re not too familiar with some of the characters, it doesn’t hinder the story one bit. Roberson doesn’t hang this story on knowing the origins of the various vigilantes, but on the story taking place in this issue. Masks is starting off pretty strong, and I can’t wait to see how Roberson and Ross’s story plays out!