Brian Wood and Sergio Sandoval welcome you to the jungle as they send Ben Wolstenholme’s Ape-human hybrid British secret agent on a dangerous World War 2 mission in Madefire’s Mono: Pacific #1 motion book.
Mono is one of the Madefire’s original launch characters. His Second World War tale The Old Curiosity Shop has a sort of WW2-meets-James-Bond-crossed-with-Dr-Jekyll kind of vibe and is something of a slow burner. Readers are treated to Mono’s introspective thoughts, brutally interrupted by bursts of military action and violence. Mono: Pacific #1 is a totally different beast however, and has much more in common with classic pulp comics.
Mono: Pacific #1 flies out of the blocks. The reader is plunged right into the heart of the action as our hero is sent on a another mission. Your ears are filled with the roar of aeroplane engines and military drums. The accompanying music is as thunderous as the engines and wouldn’t be out of place in a hollywood blockbuster.
Mono’s internal monologue is still present but Brian Wood has endowed Mono with a snappier delivery than the original book (sorry Liam). For the first time we see Mono interacting with regular servicemen and something of his personality. It’s actually rather touching and nice to see Mono’s human side brought to the fore.
As with all good spy thrillers, our hero works alone. He leaps from the plane and is plunged deep into a jungle on an uninhabited? Pacific island. Upon landing, Mono picks up his knife and starts exploring his forest surroundings. Mono soon comes across a troop of soldiers but is surprised to find that they are in fact gorillas and ‘speaking bloody Japanese!’ He drops his knife and… all hell breaks loose.
Writer Brian Wood has clearly been given permission to further explore some of Mono’s abilities in Pacific. Mono is no longer just a soldier possessed of animalistic fury. He is at one with his jungle environment and can sense his surroundings and empathise with the natural world.
When it comes to the jungle, the Madefire audio team have once again come up trumps. Buzzing insects fill your ears, alongside birdsong and other night-time noises. During action-packed sequences the jungle explodes into life with a cacophony of monkey calls and animal shrieks.
Sergio Sandoval and Diego Rodriguez have come up trumps in the art stakes too. They have a more traditional style – that is to say they work within comic panels and don’t overuse Madefire’s flashy motionbook toolkit. There is less blurring and sliding than the original Mono title. You might think this would be boring, but it really helps keep the reader firmly in the book’s 1940s timeline and retain a retro pulp feel.