Nick Hammond and Anastasia Collins are a husband and wife team and core of the Mystery Society. They are rich, cultured, madly in love and just as dedicated to exposing paranormal secrets around the world. In this volume they expand the Mystery society to include a pair of “atomic twins,” a robotic Jules Verne and an undead hit woman. Really, what’s not to love here?
The Mystery Society is refreshing in that it 100% unadulterated fun. There’s no psychological drama, physical trauma or social commentary. Dark themes have helped pull comics out of the realm of kids stuff, but they have also weighed down the medium, mitigating the fun and freedom of visual story telling. It’s great to see a witty, stylish, adult adventure.
Fiona Staples creates a chic look for the characters and their surroundings. Her attention to detail makes giving the panels a second look worthwhile. I especially enjoyed her depiction of the twins. They are often peeking in to frame, only their eyes and the tops of their heads visible. In other scenes Staples perfectly captures the body language of curious little girls, the craning necks and tiptoe gawking. Steve Niles keeps the pace of his story fast and the characters engaging. Nick and Anastasia have real chemistry, not just cute banter.
Being that this is only the first volume of the series, I didn’t expect much in the way of a larger story arc. Mystery Society vol. 1 does a great job of establishing character, setting, relationships and conflict all while delivering a fun read. Here’s hoping that Niles and Staples can expand on what they have created in the second volume.