"Masks & Mobsters" #4 is far enough along to easily declare the best title from nascent digital publisher Monkeybrain Comics, as well as one of the year's best from any publisher. Joshua Williamson truly analyzes what would happen were the worlds of moral superheroes and disgusting mobsters to ever cross. These criminals are easily as dastardly and effective as any over-the-top supervillain has ever been. Yet, there's something very grounded about the ways in which these bad guys do their bad things.
The very first page from Jason Copland is a quick montage to establish a new character. Ignatio comes across like a sequential Scorsese character through his staccato images of past terrible deeds. With our new lead for this issue effortlessly established, Williamson and Copland waste no time moving forward and delving straight into the latest plot of the criminals to catch themselves a hero. This engineered meeting works brilliantly as a one-shot aspect within an anthology of tales but it also seamlessly brings together plot threads so more can be built upon these developments later. Williamson is really crafting a delicious set of blocks that build to make a majestic tower of narrative.
Jason Copland's art fits this world extremely well. His character designs work just as well for three-piece suits as an attached cape. He packs plenty of action and leaves room for dialogue so each page gets to have its moments while still pushing the story forward. He allows the realism to always be present and thus the stakes remain high.
"Masks & Mobsters" #4 is what you'd get if someone gave Scorsese a shot at a superhero story. No character feels completely straight and if they are the world and its denizens bends them eventually. This issue is a fantastic dialogue around the price of corruptibility. Mobsters earn their place as superb villains because they know that every heart has some black and their talent is bringing it out to the fore. In "Masks & Mobsters" you get the wonder of the superheroes, the nasty from the mobsters, and the intellect from Williamson and Copland. Get into the ruckus and see what all the fuss is about.