Not many people can write action comics like Warren Ellis. The single-minded determination of Anna Mercury to stop New Atraxia from firing, basically, a giant laser cannon to wipe out another country brings to mind previous works like “Reload,” “Red,” and “Global Frequency,” but also doesn’t copy them. The same competence and skill in creating deft sequences is here, but also originality, which is very tough to pull off.
Ellis is helped greatly by Facundo Percio’s art, who mixes fluid energy with the odd bit of comedy. Anna’s reaction to a broken arm is reminiscent of Amanda Conner in its execution, while the action sequences are quick and brutal. Some of his best work simply has Anna in the shaft of the cannon, trying to force a backfire by collapsing the barrel; she, defiant in the face of a huge amount of energy, willing to do what it takes to save lives.
That’s always been the brilliance of Ellis’s heroes: they may be horrible bastards in their personal lives but, when it gets down to it, they do whatever it takes to save the day. “Jump into the barrel of a giant laser cannon and try to force a backfire? Sure thing!” Anna Mercury is another in a long line of Ellisian heroes that revel in their actions, partly out of the joy of doing what no one else can do, and partly out of living up to the responsibility that comes with those abilities. No one else can stop the cannon, so Anna Mercury has to, which she knows and attempts to do with no qualms.
There actually isn’t much else to this comic beyond Anna Mercury fighting some soldiers before fighting a giant laser cannon. And there’s something rather fun and brilliant about that. A real simplicity is in the idea of a hero fighting a giant laser cannon that you don’t often see much these days.
This five-issue series already has a sequel in the works and its ending is another allusion to an Ellis work: “The Authority” #4 where the question of right and wrong is measured in a body count. Were more people saved than died? The Authority were content with the answer while, here, we get a different answer, a more heroic one. Saving the day may be all that matters, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it better next time. A wonderfully optimistic message if I’ve ever seen one.