Things take a turn as four friends are lost and must battle the wildlife of a resort planet, the working-class citizens they have slighted, and their own toxic personalities.
When it comes to any kind of artistic endeavor, there is almost always some overall message behind the piece. Sometimes the creator will make that message explicit and clear. Other times they’ll leave it vague so that the audience can either find the creator’s meaning or end up assigning their own behind it as they see fit. Then there are the times where it seems like the creator might have a message, but it’s somewhat jumbled and you can’t quite tell if they have the message you assumed.
That’s the case so far with AWA Studios’ Mann’s World.
With the second issue, the theme of toxic masculinity that writer Victor Gischler is presenting continues to be in your face throughout the entire issue. Much like the first issue, it does not seem to leave one in a place to care about any of the characters.
Every single member of the party displays some portion of traits that emerge from the overall bubble of toxic masculinity. There is the big tough alpha male type, the silent follower who just exists, the fat friend for them to poke at constantly, and then the guy who could break the cycle but would rather just give in and follow his “alpha” friend because it is easier.
Even the natives, who have every right to be upset at how this group treated some of them last issue, are just further caricatures of toxic masculinity. About the only people that seem to show some compassion and less toxic traits are those who work at the resort who are trying to find the missing party since one of them is a big celebrity fighter. Alongside the toxic masculinity is some messaging about the ills of capitalism & stealing/developing on the land of others, but it’s mired by those characters being slightly more relatable humans.
There are moments in the beginning after the four friends begin their journey through the wilderness that there are flashes of something beyond the more toxic components, but they are quickly lost as their default personas take back over. Perhaps the overall message will be more clear by the end of the series in a few issues, but as it stands it’s quite muddled as to what exactly is being said about this toxic behavior.
Niko Walter, Snakebite Cortez, and Andworld Design continue to present a really beautifully presented world that has things very similar to Earth, but with little flares that showcase that they are quite different. The scenes that are just the men trying to get through the lush world back towards civilization are very well done and speak to the skill of the artists on board. There is a very grotesque scene seemingly out of nowhere near the end that is a bit gross and shocking, but art-wise was nailed.
There are a few shots with coloring that were hard to decipher, such as a darker-skinned character wearing a dark bit of clothing only to be shirtless later where it almost was hard to notice the change.
Mann’s World #2 is now available from AWA Studios at your local comic shop or digitally through ComiXology.