Someday The Earth Will Weep — ASK FOR MERCY Season 2 Review
Comicraft Presents: Ask For Mercy
Volume 2 – The Heart of the Earth
Creator/Writer/Letterer: Richard Starkings
Creator/Artist/Colorist: Abigail Jill Harding
Read this on comiXology
Ask For Mercy is a comiXology original series created by Comicraft. It is a dark fantasy story with elements of adventure and horror. The first volume of the story took place during WWII. Mercy, the series’ main character, was pulled into another world by a group of monsters. These monsters were tasked with hunting down a group of evil monsters, who just so happened to have been summoned into our world by the Nazis. The good monsters recruited Mercy to their cause because of her ability to open portals between worlds.
The second collected volume of Ask For Mercy, Heart of the Earth, begins a brand new story arc. It also contains the special one-shot Ask For Budgie. This second arc takes place in North Dakota in the year 1876. Mercy and her friends have been summoned by a Lakota shaman. He asks for their help against the U.S. Army, led by General Custer. In order to help the Lakota, Mercy and her companions must also contend with the machinations of the Trickster-God Ikto’mi. I’m not knowledgeable enough on the subject to speak to its complete accuracy, but I’m glad to see Native American mythology used as the backbone of this arc’s plot. Kasa, one of Mercy’s monster companions, turns out to be the White Buffalo Woman from Lakota legend. This is not only a cool spin on the mythos of both the Lakota and this series, but also an intelligent detail to tie this arc together. Starkings adds extra context to the storyline by inserting historical details as well.
Ikto’mi is a menacing figure and I loved his character design. It’s interesting that Starkings chooses to have the narration text cut to the spider God at random times during the first few chapters. This increases the narrative’s tension and introduces Ikto’mi without the need for a lot of extra dialogue. There was an issue with pacing, making this comic a rather slow read. There’s a lot of background details that lend historical context to the situation Mercy and the monsters find themselves in. As a result, there are only a handful of scenes that aren’t filled with expository dialogue. Finally, the included Budgie one-shot. It was really cute and contained a lot of visual humor. The one-shot actually turned out to be my favorite part of this second volume.
Harding’s artwork is gorgeous. It’s very clean and looks both hand drawn and hand painted. Reading this comic was like watching scenes pass by in an oil painting. Her art also gave the book an extra creepiness. Many of the panels are reminiscent of the illustrations from children’s books, yet the images they depict often turn dark and twisted when the reader least expects it. This creates a stunning juxtaposition of beauty and horror. I mentioned earlier that I loved the look of Ikto’mi, but the designs of all the characters are on point. I find it interesting that the monsters can shape-shift, both between their real form and a human form as well as transform into dense, malleable liquids or palls of gas. Harding does a great job of illustrating these instances so that it’s clear what’s happening within the story.
Ask For Mercy Season Two is an intriguing work of historical fiction. Or more accurately put, historical fantasy. Starkings adds horror elements and action scenes into the mix, creating a unique and original story. This arc draws inspiration from history and mythology, almost to its own detriment. The main plotline may suffer in terms of substance, but it’s great to see the culture of early Lakota Indians on display in a comic book. If the history lesson like narration and dialogue gets the best of you, at least there’s beautiful art to look at until the actual plot begins to move forward once again. Both collected seasons of Ask For Mercy are available now on comiXology.