Written by Geoffrey Thorne
Art by Khary Randolph, Emilio Lopez, Joe Sabino
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: October 12, 2016
“Another Inhumans book?” Yeah, me too. But some things happened this week, and the regularly scheduled reviewer for Mosaic #1 needed a sub. So I said, “Sure, I’ll give yet another Inhumans comic a go. Maybe this’ll be the one that unlocks the Inhumans Appreciation achievement for me.”
Writer Geoffrey Thorne and artist Khary Randolph give us something completely different. There’s still the Terrigen cloud, the Inhuman chrysalis, the newfound powers and the struggles that come with it. The pieces are all present to mold a formulaic tale, but Thorne pushes the expectations a bit, giving the Marvel Universe a character that had so much going for him before his life-changing tragedy. Morris Sackett is the MVP. He just led the New York Stride to their fifth basketball championship in as many years, and he’s dating a pop star that can hold her own with the paparazzi. So it just makes sense that things are going to change.
And things do change. And Morris Sackett transforms. The chrysalis cracks open and a new character emerges. From there, Mosaic #1 is a wild ride. His first steps into the world around him involve fall from a high-rise, a rush of thoughts from an adoring fan, and a weird, mind-twisting merger. Thorne presents the story from Sackett’s point of view, giving readers an issue filled with confusion and vitality. At this point, the art and the story merge, each taking turns in the foreground of building this narrative, constructing this. . .mosaic.
The story isn’t as trippy as, say, Shade the Changing Girl or Doom Patrol, but readers enjoying those two titles will find enough here to like, even if it is the Marvel Universe. And that is Thorne’s greatest success. He has added to the tapestry of the Marvel Universe, but successfully did so in a manner that is portable. It doesn’t have to be the Terrigen cloud that transforms Morris Sackett. He doesn’t need to become an Inhuman. His teammate doesn’t need to compare Sackett to Doctor Doom, but all of those things happen. The story isn’t beholden to the rest of the Marvel Universe, but it is present in that space and celebrates what that means to the story.
Thorne takes Mosaic through a few different gateway characters, blending the concepts behind characters like Deadman and Rogue into something new that has potential to have long legs and vast story ideas or to flame out spectacularly. The evidence present in Mosaic #1 makes me think this series has legs. Thorne cares about this world he’s delivered from whole cloth. He has taken the time to develop a corner of the universe that can include a professional basketball league, a random passerby, a good citizen on the lam, and a robbery gone wrong.
Thorne provides a diverse first issue cast, some of which clearly will not return for the second issue, but also spans a wide array of settings, giving artist Khary Randolph plenty to work with. First of all, I can count the number of times I have seen a memorable basketball game depicted in comics on one hand with two amputated fingers (not that I have two amputated fingers, mind you). The opening scene, featuring a championship final game between the New York Stride and the Brooklyn Garnets has the vastness of a basketball game in an arena. The colors are brilliant, the lighting dynamic, and the action crisp. Additionally, there are magnificent, evocative logos for the two teams that add tangibility to the tale.
Secondly, Randolph clearly collaborates with colorist Emilio Lopez as more than once in Mosaic #1 form is replaced by color, enhancing the power of the narrative and amplifying the uneasy nature of Sackett’s transformation. Some scenes in this comic are as much attributable to the colors as the lines, and Mosaic #1 wouldn’t be the same if any member of the visual team were absent.
The art, quite simply, is brilliant. Randolph’s style works well with the mysterious nature of Inhuman power discovery, and every single one of his characters cuts an individualized profile through the panels of Mosaic #1. Even letterer Joe Sabino contributes to the unique visuals with strong lettering and bold distinctions once Morris Sackett undergoes his Inhuman transformation.
I’m not going to go all in on the Inhumans, but I’m definitely interested in seeing more of Mosaic. This character has potential, albeit I’m not sure what the true nature of the potential may be, as Mosaic could easily be self-centered as he could be heroic. It’s up to Thorne, Randolph, Lopez, and Sabino to take us there.
The Verdict: 9.0/10