Mystery Society #3
Written by Steve Niles
Art by Fiona Staples
Letters by Chris Mowry
Published by IDW
Review by George Marston
If this title proves anything, it's that Steve Niles is one hell of an idea man. Since his breakthrough work on "30 Days of Night" he's shown time and time again that he's got a big mass of weird concepts floating around in his brain, and he's adept at digging deep into his own haunted cortex to retrieve these odd nuggets of post-Lovecraftian horror and irony. Sadly, the genius often stops right there, as Niles tends to start tripping over his own feet when given too much room to walk around. Mystery Society straddles the line, as it often jumps along too quickly to capitalize on the world it's building, but I worry that it would drag at a slower pace.
If I have one real complaint, it's that for a team consisting of pre-pubescent psychic twins, the robotically preserved brain of Jules Verne, a walking dead girl, and two souped up ghost hunters, things sure are plenty ordinary so far. There's lots of talk about the weird mysteries the team has solved, supernatural myths they've debunked and confirmed, and extraordinary adventures to be had, but aside from the b-plot involving the supposedly loquacious skull of Edgar Allen Poe, this is really just a book about two nerds fighting the military. It almost feels like this should be the third or fourth mini-series featuring these characters, after we've had a few go 'rounds to really fall in love with them, build the team dynamic, and set up some of the threads that are running through this title.
Issue number three is a welcome turn, however, as a bit more focus is given to Secret Skull and Verne as they investigate the missing skull of Baltimore's burdened author Edgar Allen Poe. The mystery is more Scooby Doo than BPRD, which isn't a bad thing at all. Fiona Staples really, really nails these two characters in particular, and the scenes of the pair riding around on a motorcycle with sidecar are just too cool. Staples has really been the staying power of this title so far, and it's clear why her star has been on the rise of late. Equally well crafted are the scenes of Nick and Anastasia Mystery going head to head with some military controlled monsters, however the main plot of this title just isn't grabbing me.
Really, this book's only crime is not cashing in on the host of good and intriguing ideas at its disposal, and if future installments do more to branch into the inherent weirdness that's being left behind by the current run, there will be a lot more to hold my interest. As it stands, Mystery Society is being propped up by some great art, and some clever concepts that one can only hope will begin to pan out before it's too late.What do you think of Niles' newest project?