To Kill or Not To Kill: Andy Burns on Image Comics’ The Mission

Could you kill someone if you were told it would save lives? That taking one life would mean allowing countless innocents to live?

For some, it’s a pretty simple, cut and dried answer. It is for Paul, the main character in Image Comics’ The Mission. When randomly approached in a lowlit parking garage by a man calling himself Gabe, who insists Paul must commit a murder and that he has 48 hours to do so, Paul is aghast at the request. He walks away, but Gabe keeps showing up, promising that bad things will happen if he doesn’t take on his mission. It appears that Paul has suddenly been drafted into the war between good and evil.

Written by brothers Jon and Erich Hoeber, screenwriters for the Hollywood hit RED, and illustrated by Werther Dell’edera, The Mission is one of the best comics I’ve read in a very long time, superhero or non. Over the course of the two issues currently available via the online comic book store Comixology, the Hoeber’s have crafted a moody and suspenseful story that genuinely leaves you wondering what the heck is going on. Is Gabe who we think he might be? Is he good or evil? Why is he mission so important and why was Paul chosen for it?

Meanwhile, the lead character of Paul is someone you don’t encounter every day in a comic book – he appears to be an ordinary, average guy with a family, a job, a crappy boss and a strong moral fibre that recoils at the thought of randomly killing someone. As the story continues, we (and Paul) are introduced to seedier and seedier characters and we’re left not only wondering what will happen if Paul doesn’t complete his mission, but what will happen if he does? The story and Dell’edera’s art are both eerie without being graphic of horrific. The story could take place in any city, which helps it resonate with the reader that much more.

There’s a really strong story flow throughout The Mission – you could almost envision it as an HBO or AMC mini-series. In fact, when I finished reading the first issue, which Comixology has currently available for free online, I immediately purchased the second issue. That’s how engrossing The Mission is.

I chose to accept The Mission. You should too.

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