The first “Anna Mercury” series was exactly what you want from a sci-fi thriller: lots of action, lots of new concepts, and a general sense that you’re reading something you’ve never seen before. There were elements of “Stargate” and superhero comics and, well, whatever British TV programs Warren Ellis was referencing that went right over my head. The core concept of a group of constellation alternate Earths, all smaller than ours, being policed and watched over by us out of a sense of responsibility is a concept with legs.
That is evidenced in the first issue of the sequel series, “Ultraspacial Dreadnought Vanaheim” where Ellis and artist Facundo Percio send Anna Mercury to a new constellation planet. Whereas the first series had the British agent operating on a world that had no idea that there were other worlds, this constellation world warrants attention after it sends a probe to our Earth, and Mercury has to go to that world and get a sense of what type of people they’re dealing with.
The constellation world is one of the more unique combinations of humans I’ve ever seen pop up in a sci-fi story: “the population is almost equally comprised of Ashanti Africans, Ainu Japanese, and Anglo-Saxons from south-east England.” How and why Ellis arrived at this mix is anyone’s guess, but that allows Percio to develop a unique, hybrid look to the society, especially the clothing. He plays up the Japanese and Africans influences more than the English, but that helps give Three Souls Town the foreign feel that you want in a story like this.
Ellis doesn’t develop this world much in this issue, preferring to give a couple of small details, while going through the concept of the series and what exactly Anna Mercury does to travel to these constellation worlds, making this new-reader friendly for those who haven’t had a chance to pick up the first series yet.
That, and he sticks to the action, giving Percio a chance to shine as Mercury’s mission goes awry quickly and she’s soon on the run from the authorities with their ray guns and body armor, looking like a mix between riot police and samurais. His art is darker here than on the previous book, more rough blacks around the edges, but Percio still delivers some gorgeous drawings.
If the first series and this issue are any indication, “Anna Mercury 2” will be action-packed with some witty dialogue and thoughtful scientific and sociological concepts. High-concept blockbuster movie comics at their best.