Scout Comics Review: The Mall #1 By Don Handfield, James Haick III & Rafael Loureiro

The Mall #1 Review

Published by Scout Comics

Written by Don Handfield and James Haick III

Art by Rafael Loureiro

Coloured by Dijjo Lima

“Why couldn’t they send a goon that looks like George Michael?”

The Plot

It’s 1984 and the story begins with a man running from the rain only to meet up with some unexpected company. Shortly after, the police are on the scene both investigating and doing some foreshadowing at the same time.  Fast forward two weeks later and we meet Lena who is popular and comes from a family with money.  Next is Diego who is doing modest work with his father to make a living.  Socially he’s not doing the hottest and some of his peers are quick to point that out.  We are then introduced to Dallas who is trying to work towards going to college, which is coming at a cost with his peers.  Later on each of them learn that they have won a scholarship and to meet up at the mall in order to qualify.  They are met by Leonard who tells them that they all have something in common, they were all fathered by Gino Cardini who was heavily connected to the mob.  The scholarships are a front for their inheritance, which ends up being one store each in the mall.  Before they can decide, things take an unexpected detour.  There are even more surprises in store for them as the danger quickly gets real.

The Breakdown

I was exposed to this comic on FCBD.  Something about the cover made me want to select this title and it ended up being my favorite read that day hands down.  This issue takes place well before the FCBD offering, which is totally fine.  The FCBD issue laid out the premise and the hook, which was enough to get me to pre-order it.  This issue starts from the beginning and I’m glad it’s slowly unfolding as it brings us up to speed.  I wasn’t sure how the pacing was going to be, but any concerns were laid to rest as the story moves along at a good rate and doesn’t try to cram too much into one issue.  Character development is the focal point of this issue and the comic is much stronger for it.  I liked how the story feels like it is taking place in the ‘80s, but it’s done without cramming a bunch of pop culture references, etc. down the readers’ throats.  There are various references of course, but they feel organic to the story and not like they’re being thrown in to make sure we know it’s the ‘80s.  The main characters all have their strengths and weaknesses and it’s going to be interesting seeing how they’re going to navigate this whole world.  Even the circumstances with their “scholarships” are not clear cut as was shown in the third act of the book.  I’m also looking forward to seeing how they are going to deal with prior circumstances in their lives that they may now be better equipped to handle.  The character of Leonard and his circumstances were unexpected, but will add a lot to his ongoing story.  For a first issue, the creative team managed to get a lot established and getting 28 pages for $3.99 was appreciated.  I enjoyed Loureiro’s layouts and his art suits this title.  Lima’s colours had a nice pop to them, which also suited the vibe of this title.  All in all, this was a very good comic.

BUT…

It’s a small issue for me, but Leonard introducing himself directly in-panel would’ve been appreciated.  Also, I was taken aback by some of the language in the book.  It doesn’t affect my enjoyment of the book, but I wasn’t expected it as I don’t recall the FCBD issue having strong language (mind you it was an issue available at an all-ages event so it was probably a good move on their part).  I was a bit surprised by it, but it does suit the plot as well as the times that the book is taking place in.

The Verdict

Buy It.  If I had to rate it I’d give it a 9/10.  First issues can be a bit tedious sometimes, but this one was anything but and was just a really good comic.  I’m already looking forward to the second issue and seeing how the characters and story will continue to develop.  This title is going into my file at the LCS.  I greatly enjoy comics that are character as well as story driven and the Mall is really delivering so far.  The premise of this title is intriguing, but it’s great for readers when the execution is there too.  I have been disappointed in the past with some other titles when they sounded good in the previews, but either the storytelling or the art fell flat.  I definitely recommend this title and while you’re at it, try to track down the FCBD issue as well.  The Mall is totally rad!

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