Mulan: Revelations #1: A Promising Re-Vamp on Traditional FolkloreJune 17, 2015
The story of Mulan is one that transcends time. Most of us will know it by the popular 90’s Disney film (and our love for the film has only grown since Mulan’s voice actor Ming-Na Wen is kicking butt on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Mulan’s story is lifted from the glory days of dynasty-controlled China to futuristic Shanghai in Mulan: Revelations #1.
The Dark Horse team who brought this version of Mulan to life is compromised of creator Robert Alter, writer Marc Andreyko and artist Micah Kaneshiro. Billed as a cyberpunk styled comic, it misses the mark in that genre, but hits another one – an earnest attempt at jumpstarting Ancient China folklore into a contemporary story.
There are definitely beautiful parts to the Revelations story. The art, when executed fully through, is stunning. At other times the artwork feels half done, with half the panel being a visual masterpiece and the other half succumbing to a blurred distraction. It is unfortunate the ingenious part of the artwork does not translate to every corner as it would make for one of the most visually compelling comics of the year. A positive point to make about the artwork is the consistency between the Ancient China setting and the futuristic Shanghai, aiding in telling the story as a flowing set of events.
As for the overall story, it is rich in intrigue and build-up. Plucking Mulan from her respective time to a time beyond our own – with its own set of problems is interesting enough. But, Mulan of the future has different issues to deal with than the ones she would have dealt in her original time. This time, Mulan’s life is a bit more lavished and elaborate, but it has its consequences.
For the most part of this issue, the bones of the story are laid down. The mounting story doesn’t revolve around Mulan, but rather sucks her into it. Mulan has to become reflexive to what occurs and this time without the help of Mushu. She does have another guide who appears to be just as helpful, if not more. At first, some of Mulan’s characterization is not welcomed with open arms, such as a choice in something she wears. Later on she changes and dismisses what she was wearing because it was only appropriate for the situation she was in and not because it’s her.
It will be interesting to see where this Dark Horse team takes Mulan’s story. The 26-page issue is a treat, and its inconsistent artwork should not detract a reader, instead focus on what is good and continue on that track. From there the team can only improve. While it may not be the cyberpunk style it touts itself as, it has the potential to be a great action/sci-fi adventure.
Mulan: Revelations #1 will be released on June 24 both in-stores and digitally. Check the Dark Horse website for locations.