Review: ‘Mann’s World’ #1 Offers A Bold New World With The Same Old Human Problems
by Scott Redmond
A weekend getaway to a resort world goes awry when four troubled friends bring all their baggage and run afoul of the world’s working-class citizens.
Science fiction at its core has the power to take us anywhere and everywhere when it comes to our own world, the universe, and even worlds and universes far beyond our own. The lens through which we observe these new places often changes depending on the story being told. AWA Studio’s Mann’s World #1 brings a future where the galaxy has been colonized and shows us the vast resort world known as Mann’s World through the eyes of four male friends who are somewhat broken and, in a few ways, somewhat toxic.
Quite quickly these entitled (and some that are just passively following the others) men throw their weight around which ends up pitting them against the working class of this resort world and leads them straight into danger. On the one hand, it’s hard to feel sorry for them. The danger they end up in is very much their fault, but there is clearly more going on behind the facades of this world based upon how quick the working class leaps from needling to anger to outright attempted murder.
Victor Gischler does a good job setting this up, finding ways to drop the backstory in a way that doesn’t’ feel too heavily like an info dump, but so far it was hard for me to connect in any way with any characters we got to know. Vince Harding is the POV character giving narration and is the most passive of characters at times. While trying to be a defuser in many events, his passiveness seems to come from the strong personalities around him including the recent ending of his marriage, so perhaps he’ll be the one to grow more as the series moves on and brings more likability to them all.
More than likely the hardship of being hunted down by various dangers from wildlife to the locals in this resort world will change these characters, potentially to the more likable side, but in this first issue it was hard to find any reason to connect with or want good for almost any of these characters. Based upon the back material of the book, that is very much by design, but future issues will show if that will change and become better characters by the end of this short series.
Niko Walter, Snakebite Cortez, and Andworld Design do an amazing job of breathing artistic life into this world as the sleek imagery and the bright but muted colors bring this future and other world to such vivid life. Andworld’s lettering takes on a life of its own as it moves from standard balloon style dialogue to italicized for quotes, smaller for whispering, and bolder/bigger when the tensions begin to mount. Despite the tense nature and the at times toxic and braggadocious nature of the characters some of the sound effect lettering is fittingly whimsical comic booky (think like old school Batman ’66 TV show wise) to break the tension somewhat.
Mann’s World #1 is an interesting start to building a new world that really engages in shooting for the stars in world-building while showcasing some of the terrible types of humans that the audience knows well. It speaks to the idea that no matter how much humanity expands, they are likely to bring the same type of issues and problems with them.