Mann’s World concludes on a truly bitter and still gory note that leaves not a lot of substance or messaging to be taken away by the final pages. It still remains a visual delight, outside of the gore, through and through, and is worth flipping through just for the beautiful art alone.
Any piece of fiction that decides to center itself around terrible folks, whether they are moderately terrible or are just full-on villain murderous levels of terrible, is in for an uphill battle from the start. It does not take long to realize that AWA Studios’ Mann’s World is that type of fiction.
There is honestly no character that can be rooted for in this series. The only characters that come close enough are the resort employees that spend three of the issues trying to find the lost main characters, but they are so under characterized they are little more than story props. No, the characters that get all the focus, the four friends at the center and the murderous locals that are hunting them, are all just terrible, terrible people.
Some are terrible for being party to the other’s terribleness. Others are terrible for being selfish or borderline toxic. Then there is Duncan Sharpe and the locals who are alpha male toxic murderous monsters.
At some points, Victor Gischler seemed like he wanted to make some kind of statement about toxic masculinity and its costs, but that never materializes in the book. Instead, from the second issue on things just got more toxic, brutal, and gory. Nothing comes of the toxicness other than the one character, Vince Harding making it out in the end and the company covering up all the deaths that occurred. Vince makes it out only because he finally stops putting up with Duncan’s toxic crap and actively chooses to let Duncan die, and then becomes a shell of himself.
That is it, the story ends with nothing being learned or changed or any sort of message being imparted truthfully. One could claim that overall, the message is do not be a toxic jerk, but that would be generous to assign because the story never really supports that.
As stated in each of the previous reviews, the work that Niko Walter, Snakebite Cortez, and Andworld Design are doing on the artistic side is what saves this book. They are putting their all into really developing this jungle paradise world and all the beauty, wonders, and dangers that make it up. While there is a lot more gore as the book moves on, they make sure to not make it too outlandish. Not that there is a problem with gore, just sometimes it is better if it is not over the top.
Each of them is doing stellar work both in this book and across others that are on the shelves and hopefully they keep getting more work as they are the main draw here.
Mann’s World #4 is now on sale from AWA Studios in print and digitally.