Sharp and Wolstenholme offer the added premise of Mono being known through fictitious stories, but played as quite real in this re-imagining of the cult character. His history stretches from the Boer Wars to the Cold War as an adventurer, agent of the crown, and occasional assassin.
Here’s the set-up: Mono serves as a special agent to the Queen specializing in hopeless missions. He’s like James Bond if he were the missing link. Savage as he is gentlemanly, Mono is on a mission in French Caen during World War II.
The first episode tells Mono’s story through an unnamed narrator who was friends with Mono and possibly shared in his adventures. He reads from Mono’s private journals, which are elegantly written in a beautiful prose. His story starts with Mono on a mission to infiltrate Caen, which carries on into the second episode where he is on the run from Nazis.
The third episode continues the sharp action that began with the first and second episodes as Mono moves through Caen, evading or killing Nazis along his way. The opening sequence finds Mono flying through the window of a French couple’s apartment while evading a squad of Nazis. Paced at a breakneck speed, Mono delivers breathtaking action sequences by Wolstenhome that feel as exciting as movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Him and Sharp offer up a one-two punch with a tight script that works hand-in-hand with the dynamics of the artwork. There were so many great sequences where the narration from the journal would sync up beautifully with panels movement throughout the story.
There’s a particular sequence where Mono infiltrates a Nazi gathering where the words and images come together perfectly as he works his way around the room in an action tour-de-force taking down each aggressor. Wolstenholme simply amazes in this sequence with seamless movement from frame to frame.
One of the other appealing aspects of the storytelling for Mono is the minimalist approach taken by Sharp in the scripting. He allows a lot of breathing room for Wolstenhome’s art while keeping the plot from being spent in one, big flameout.
While only on the third episode, it’s easy to understand why Wolstenhome and Sharp haven’t delivered numerous episodes to date – Wolstenholme’s level of detail in art is beyond amazing. The original artwork for much of Mono is done on a much larger scale than the iPad or iPhone’s final destination. His work is ornate and rich. Kudos to Fin Cramb for adding amazing colors to this episode.
Overall, Mono offers exciting storytelling in a most satisfying and cinematic fashion with the motion book tool used by Madefire. This is sophisticated comic book storytelling here and well worth the read.