So on April 14th a good friend posted a link on my facebook page to a comic series called M3. The book is co-created and written by Erica Schultz (digital artist and letterer Neal Adams’ “Blood”, colorist and digital artist on “Batman Odyssey) with pencils, ink, and colors by Vicente Alcazar (Jonah Hex, Eerie and a ton of others).
Machiavella Maria Marcona (M3). Hit woman? Victim? Avenging angel?
Issue 1, titled “Beginnings” is just that, we meet Maria in full swing and get her back story through flashback and narration by Maria as well as FBI Analyst Chris Morris. Morris is interrogating a woman he’s sure is a killer but even though he’s caught her, can he hold her?
This issue not only gives us her story but shows us her motivations very early on. That’s not to say the book is a give away, it’s an engaging, suspense filled story of a woman on a mission and we get to come along for the ride. It’s an espionage thriller that relies heavily on plot instead of violence. Now lets be clear, people die. They die in many varied and interesting ways, but Erica steers clear of the gratuitous violence we’ve come to expect in this kind of comic. M3 is a different kind of killer. How different? We find out more about that in issue 2.You’re seeing this art right???
Issue #2 – “Conflict”
“Conflict… It’s at the heart of everything”
This issue puts us right in the middle of M3’s internal struggle, her need for answers to the mystery in her past coupled with her need to fulfill her mission. This mission also shows us another of M3’s diverse array of kill tactics. Then we also get a glimpse into the world of “Agent” Morris and the ramifications of his hunt for M3.
When I started issue one I thought, ok this is great but can this kind a of a story stay interesting? Issue 2 sucked me right in. It’s another really well written issue. We get another disturbing piece of Maria’s past, a piece that almost blows her current mission. And then just when you think the story is winding down another mystery pops up. This may sound silly but I wish this were a television series, I just don’t think a comic book will reach enough people and this book should reach more people.
Issue 3 – “Money”
Money is the first issue to deal almost totally in the here and now, with only one minor flashback. Our heroine is looking for her next assignment which leads her into a precarious situation resulting in a wonderful cliffhanger. Meanwhile Agent Morris can’t find anyone to back him up in his investigation. Will he give up or does he have a personal reason that precludes him ever letting this go?
I can’t get enough of this book! I emailed Erica Schultz and asked what the length of this series will be. We can expect a trade that will collect the first six issues, and then two or possibly three more arcs. So hopefully we have at least twelve to eighteen more issues!
So what have we got? A engrossing story with interesting characters and amazing artwork. Machiavella Maria Marcona is a new type of heroine. M3’s tough, beautiful, intriguing. She inhabits a world within our own, a world we fantasize about being a part of, doing the things we wish we could do. This series rocks.
Several issues are available in print and digital at m3comic.
And digitally from Drive Thru Comics. But if you’re a local comic shop junkie like me you’ll be glad to know that issue 1 hits comic shops nationwide on May 30th!
This coming weekend (May 12th to be exact) is the first Asbury Park Comic Con! I’ll be heading there to see what’s what. And I just found out tonight that Erica Schultz will be there representing Hound Comics! I’m sure to come back with lots of good stuff to tell you guys about the future of this series… Stay tuned!
Editor’s Note: Article edited 08-16-2014 to correct publication and purchase information