In the crowded field of supernatural procedurals, “Mythic” #1 doesn’t manage to stand out. Writer Phil Hester and artist John McCrea present a world where magic, not science, is the driving force of the universe, but they rely a bit too heavily on that premise to carry this issue. With many other similar titles on the shelves, they needed the characters or the world to sell me on issue #2, but neither feels original or lively enough to draw me back. “Mythic” #1 proves the book has a solid premise, but it will need to do more than that to maintain the series going forward.
The issue opens with a dramatic supernatural fight from the past before seguing into one of Mythic’s present assignments. McCrea and colorist Michael Spicer create a sickly, sinewy world in the opening, all yellow-green backgrounds, splatters and dark linework. The monster that attacks Nate is wonderfully gross, with a revolting contrast between its huge, deadly body and the infuriatingly small, persistent hairs it uses to trap Nate. Anyone who’s ever gotten the hair in the drain stuck to her hands will be grossed out. There’s a pulp noir quality to the atmosphere, with its dimly lit shops and alleyway attacks at night, but it doesn’t quite match the dialogue. McCrea and Spicer’s artwork suggests a world of flesh-and-bone monsters, but the characters speak like they’re in an easier, pop-procedural world.
In the present, the Mythic Lore Services team is setting up a bar in a national park. They’re confronted by a yokel park ranger and petulant scientist, and the contrast is meant to show off Mythic’s slick, powerful vibe. Diction like “Stormcloud has a bit of a wandering dick” aims for hip and undercutting, but the team’s glibness comes off as smugness instead in lines like, “I don’t want to blow your mind or anything” and “But I love the look on their faces.” It’s not only unlikeable; it’s unimpressive. The reader hasn’t seen anything to back up their claims, so the scene just reads as awkward exposition. Had Hester simply switched the reveal of Waterson’s inner monster and Cass’ explanation of magic, I would have understood the spirit of the scene a bit better.
Ultimately, though, the reliance on the concept rather than the characters is what keeps “Mythic” from being compelling. I’ve read plenty of magic-as-science and supernatural police or spy books, so the premise that this issue spends so much time explaining wasn’t going to convince me to pick it up. Its spin on that would have, but the reader doesn’t really get to know Waterson, Cass or Nate outside of their tropes.
Unfortunately, “Mythic” #1 isn’t original or well-executed enough to differentiate itself yet. If the series focuses more on its characters going forward, though, it could improve by leagues. There’s plenty to mine here, so if the creative team adds a touch more style and heart, they’ll have something really fun on their hands.