Ed Brisson has put a new spin on the superhero genre with this kickass new title, The Mantle, from Image Comics. Imagine The Mantle as Green Lantern's power ring except with really poor choices in hosts. Enter Robbie, who's the latest chosen one to harness the power, the least likely candidate who has to face the killer of all hosts before him, The Plague.
There are "aha moments" and then there are "oh shit" moments and The Mantle has a major one of the latter type. It's not so much that Robbie is unfit to carry the mantle (pun intended) but he reacts as anyone of us would if we were bestowed with enormous power. Forget responsibility, we got a cool suit, we can fly and generate whatever we can imagine of course we'll think we're invincible.
However, Robbie and his girlfriend soon find out that despite the help from some strangers that it takes a lot more to take on The Plague than fancy powers. It's a hard lesson that Brisson makes crystal clear by the end of the issue.
Brian Level's art drives the action but is equally comfortable setting up quieter scenes especially in the beginning. His use of shadows and rough lines gives the comic some grit and texture. Despite the perilous fight scene, Level makes those panels quite lovely.
The great thing about The Mantle is just when you think you have the story figured out it throws you a curve ball. It leaves off on a great cliffhanger which is what great first issues should do.