Publisher: Titan Comics
Writer: Serge Lehman
Pencils: Stéphane Créty
Inks: Julien Hugonnard-Bert
Colours: Gaéton Georges
Translator: Edward Gauvin
What is life after war? Frank Braffort has to find out the hard way in Masked: Anomolies #1, when, after being attacked by a Russian drone, he finds his whole squad killed and one of two survivors. Now he has to return to Paris, but he has been away for so long he find’s that Paris isn’t quite how he remembers it.
It is hard to get a good grasp on the world of Masked from the first issue, from what we see of Braffort’s squad during the war scenes at the start the seem to be technologically on the same period as we are just now, but that all quickly changes when they are attacked by a Russian drone that seems to dig through the ground before coming and flying all over the place with machine guns all over it, making it come across as some sort of science fiction super weapon. When we come to Paris we find it to be a bit more advanced than the first few pages let on. There are pirate news channels that just seem to appear in people homes, no tv needed. The images simply pops up and alerts you to the news. There are cars that fly as easily as they drive. And stranger still are the Anomlies, Mechanical ‘things’ that just seem to appear over night around Paris, sich as the one found in Braffort’s sister’s apartment complex that resembles something like a bird, that seem to die almost as quickly as it appeared.
As for where Masked is going to go from here it is difficult to say. These technological wonders that have turned Paris into some sort of super sci-fi city, looking similar to cityscapes from the likes of ‘Blade Runner’ or ‘Psyco-Pass’ seems to be a fairly recent development as Braffort has no idea about any of this, the flying cars, the news reports, all of seems to be brand new to him. We are given a rough time frame of them being around for two years, but even if he was out in Georgia the whole time, to have somehow missed all this is strange. This is one of the major mystery aspects of the series that make it quite interesting. The other is how Braffort survives the drone attack at the start. All we see is a laser and then a shadow of a caped person-like figure fly by. Masked gives you a lot of question when you read it that leaves you wanting more to figure out just what is going on.
There is a lot of elements about Masked that intrigue me, I’ve tried doing some research on it and haven’t been able to find out too much on the history of it, so that leads me to believe that this is an original French comic. The world is filled with intrigue and it worries me that it may rely on that too much to move the story along, just what are these anomalies? And who is titular masked person? There are hints to it in the background, but that is it. I also seemed to be getting hints of an almost political agenda behind it, with pirate news broadcasting directly to your homes seeming to be the most legitimate news sources, not like these fake news shows on normal television. There is also a throwaway line where they mention how Braffort chose to join the army after school rather than become some “lefty asshole” Along with scenes of protests with the left side calling the right side fascist and the right calling the left slackers. Perhaps I am just projecting these thing myself though based on the current political climate, time will tell though and I am excited to pick up the next issue of Masked: Anomlies.