Mystery Society (Hardcover Re-Release)

Although I liked the “paranormal team fighting monsters” approach of Mystery Society — it reminded me of both Perhapanauts and Midnight, Mass. (as I said when I reviewed the first issue back in 2010, when it launched) — I strongly object to IDW’s marketing with the project collections.

The five-issue miniseries was reprinted, as one might expect, in a $20 paperback. However, a Special, a one-off story with the team, was released in March of this year, so now, IDW has a new collected edition. It’s got the same title (which is both obvious and annoying to those trying to catalog accurately), a better cover, an extra 24 pages of content… and a price tag that’s $8 higher, probably because it’s now a hardcover.

For a fun but forgettable romp, I think that’s too much, but then, I blame IDW for making the now-standard $4 comic price point acceptable, so maybe I’m just bitter. Like so many comics today, this short series reads like a movie storyboard, and I’d enjoy seeing the characters on screen somewhere. But part of what makes it such a quick read is the emphasis on so many action and chase sequences. There’s not a lot of characterization, making many of the participants either blank slates or giving them really obvious motivations. It’s a hard series to care about without more issues and time spent with the group.

The team is made up of a hot young rich couple, a ghoul, Jules Verne’s brain in a steampunk robot, and twin girl psychics from 1951. Much of the first (long) story consists of breaking those two out of a military bunker, then fighting off the crazed agents who want to punish them for doing so. Meanwhile, the ghoul and robot go to recover Edgar Allan Poe’s stolen skull.

The Special, drawn by Andrew Ritchie, looks murkier than Fiona Staples’ work. It features the team visiting an underwater lair to free some classic monsters.

The Mystery Society hardcover is due out July 23 (according to the publisher) or August 13 (according to Amazon). (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)

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