REVIEW: Mystery Society by Steve Niles and Fiona Staples

REVIEW: Mystery Society by Steve Niles and Fiona StaplesMystery Society by Steve Niles
Published: IDW Publishing (2010), eBook, 132pg
Source: Scribd
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Mystery, Sci-fi

Nick Hammond and Anastasia Collins are the Mystery Society - and bring new meaning to "underground cult" status! Stealthily avoiding the authorities, this skulduggery duo spend their time and money righting wrongs committed in the world's underbellies.

I read this because of Memory! She mentioned it in a post a while back and the title drew me in. Also, I adored Fiona Staples’ art in Saga and I wanted to see more of it. Plus, secret societies investigating paranormal happenings are definitely my jam, especially when they’re run by a power couple with interesting hair.

That said, I unfortunately didn’t like Mystery Society as much as I wanted to. It’s too short! It tries to pack a lot of plot into a tiny amount of pages and it didn’t work out that well.

If it were a series I’d be behind it all the way; because it’s a one shot I wish they’d stuck to one main plot and maybe one side plot, instead of three(?) main plots and a numerous amount of smaller side ones. It would’ve made for a much stronger story overall, plus maybe there’d be some room for character development.

See, the characters were so cool! Not just Nick and Anastasia, the founders of Mystery Society, but also their…employee-members? There’s Jules Verne’s brain in a steampunk robot reminiscent of Tik-Tok, a super-skinny ghoul named Secret Skull, and adorable psychic twins. It’s a great ensemble and I really wanted to get to know them better, but there’s just not enough ROOM. There’s almost TOO MANY characters, especially combine with the multiple plot threads.

The art is lots of fun, though! The characters designs are almost pointy (except for Verne, who is super round) which made everything seem very energetic and fast. Nick and Anastasia in particular felt a little retro, like a 1960s spy couple. Actually, the whole thing felt kinda retro, like 1960s scifi aesthetics mixed with 1990s punk.

So I guess I actually DID like Mystery Society— or at least the idea of it. I enjoyed the story and the characters and I want to read more! I just didn’t like how claustrophobic it felt with only 100-something pages to flesh things out.

Read: February 28, 2015

2 thoughts on “REVIEW: Mystery Society by Steve Niles and Fiona Staples”

  1. This sounds good but also kind of complicated. What makes for a good short story or short book is simplicity. A lot going on helps you get through a long book. I am not sure how the mash-up would work well unless you’re a really good writer.

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