Why, Mister Millar, You’re Spoiling Us: ‘The Ambassadors’ #1 Advance Review
by Olly MacNamee
‘The Ambassadors’ #1 mixes old school black ops action with modern day geo-politics as America must wake up to the realisation they’re not the global superpower they thought they were? For that, as in the real world, we must look to the East and to bio-engineering genius, Doctor Chung. A billionaire who, unlike many, only has altruistic motives for the world in mind. From Mark Millar and Frank Quietly.
The Ambassadors #1 hits the shelves this week and introduces the world to the next super-powered genius writer Mark Millar is fond of including in his comics. But, unlike several others I can think of (Nemesis, I’m looking at you, bud), this one is altruistic, offering up six individuals, with hearts of gold, the chance to become super heroes and join her on a global crusade for good. DC Comics’ Guardians of the Globe, but done better (which isn’t hard, let’s face it) and, because this is a Millarworld title, an X-rated narrative. With sensational art to match from the incomparable Frank Quitely. A draughtsman unlike no other and always a pleasure to behold whenever he does provide interiors. Those times being criminally too few and far between.
It’s an issue that raises a good many questions, as any good debut issue must, but also delivers enough backstory and exposition of the lead character, Doctor Choon-He Chung, and US black ops past misdemeanours, to intrigue the reader. A US government that once tried to battle the Cold War with some dodgy special effects contrasting with a modern, high-tech facility that stands on the brink of releasing super powers onto the world stage. And a the mystery of a genetically modified chimpanzee that opens up this debut issue. With a Scottish accent to boot! Of course, given that Doctor Chung isn’t American, her very promise of gifting six individuals around the world with powers was never going to be seen as anything other than dubious by the existing Western status quo.
Quitely’s sumptuous art – colouring his own line art ever so delicately to imply depth, perspective and texture – breathes life into each panel. A world that is both familiar and unfamiliar. His realistic figures, naturally poised people and backdrops add validity to, effectively, this science-fiction/superhero yarn. Our suspension of disbelief is well and truly suspended.
With the promise of further superpowers individuals untethered from any government, the battle lines are already drawn. Even if Doctor Chung has only good intentions, it’s doubtful we’re going to get a good old fashioned Silver Age supergroup recruitment drive à la The Justice League of America or The Avengers. Not with some of the bloodier scenes included in this first issue, anyway.
A good set-up with plenty of promise, with Millar and Quietly spoiling us with their dynamic teamwork.
The Ambassadors #1 is out Wednesday 29th March from Image Comics