Review: No Mercy #8

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Review: No Mercy #8
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Alex de Campi
Illustrator: Carla Speed McNeil

Colourist: Jenn Manley Lee

Consults: Felipe Sobreiro

This week sees the eighth instalment of No Mercy, a wild and tumultuous story following a group of far-flung students thrown into peril on a disastrous class trip. This issue comes courtesy of writer Alex de Campi, illustrator Carla Speed McNeil, colourist Jenn Manley Lee and with consults by Felipe Sobreiro. The last issue finished on an intense and ballistic revelation of Gina’s transformation after her various traumas, shaved head and missing eye and all – not much of a “basic bitch” now.

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No Mercy #8 continues to explore the morbid curiosity and extensive media coverage such stories attract in reality, presenting interviews with Gina’s mother on Vevo and hoards of photographers and journalists swarming round the survivors as they leave hospital. It adds to the story’s sensationalism while providing a grim sense of realism. Tiffani and DeShawn’s storyline becomes increasingly perilous, with a tense cliff hanger at the end of the issue. There comes a point where you wonder if things can really get any worse for these helpless trauma-magnets.

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A stand-out character in No Mercy is Sebastian, no longer going by Charlene, whose previous attack on her brother frees him to finally live authentically without torment. He has remained hugely likeable throughout the series – most likely as he served as an amiable foil to his horrendous bully of a brother – and his story, now intertwined with Ines’ dodgy brother Braulio, will surely become even more twisted and exciting.

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One storyline that is starting to become annoying is the Brits’ adoption of Travis and their exhausting gap year bravado. But their arrogance will most likely end in peril as they haphazardly take mushrooms from their surroundings – a recklessness that has not served other characters so well throughout the series – so hopefully their time will soon be up. And while there may be a little incoherence when it comes to the tone of No Mercy, dipping in and out of black comedy and serious gritty drama, the plot is so tumultuous and berserk it’s easy to see past this.

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The art work remains consistent with that of previous issues, with great attention to detail as seen in the inventive pop up Google ad during Gina’s mother’s interview or Sister Ines’ beautiful back tattoo. Jenn Manley Lee’s colour work is really impressive, especially seen in the cold blues of Ines’ hospital room and the dizzying mania of the paparazzi invasion. Sister Ines may serve as something of a muse for the No Mercy illustrative team; she is always visually amazing, particularly when she becomes some sort of Disney Princess/holy vision when she returns to her school. It’s sad to see her leave, plus you can’t help but question her moral compass/loyalty to the group of children she inadvertently led to peril. But hey, that’s feisty nuns for you.

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No Mercy #8 proves to be another intense and eventful addition to these poor unfortunate souls’ never-ending trauma. The stories of characters such as Sebastian and Tiffani/DeShawn are exciting and full of potential, while others feel they are naturally coming to the end of their course. Excited/filled with dread to see what happens next.

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