"Mariachi #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Written by Dirk Manning
Illustrated by John Marroquin and Chris Sanchez
2016, 24 Pages
A lone cross marks a grave in an otherwise desolate stretch of desert. After a sudden rumbling, a skeletal hand claws its way out of the ground as the Mariachi is reborn. Clad in the traditional musician's outfit and sporting a helluva mustache, even though he's a skeleton, he must face off against a werewolf or rather, a were-coyote before venturing onward.
There are so many things we don't know about these characters and this world, and none of that matters. We get just enough to pull us into an intriguing story. It's a great hook. These two folks are arguing in the middle of the desert and clearly only one of them is going to walk out of there alive. That's saying something considering one is a skeleton.
Writer Dirk Manning knows a thing or two about character development and Mariachi is a perfect example of such. He provides a great introduction to these two supernatural beings without a full-fledged origin story. We don't need to see how this guy was bit by a radioactive mariachi singer. Instead, we see him pull himself out of the ground looking for revenge, and that's all you need.
Artists John Marroquin and Chris Sanchez's design for the title character is creepy, albeit a little humorous. On the one hand, it's a skeleton with a mustache and dressed as a mariachi singer. The fact that he has a mustache and no skin is hilarious. This is offset by the hollow eye sockets, which gives him a cold, emotionless glare. His gaunt frame looks as if he can pop his arms off at any moment to squeeze through a tight space or avoid attack.
The opening pages of Mariachi work like a poem, pining for a love long lost. The text is interspersed with images of a bar in the middle of nowhere and a beautiful woman. You don't know her, but the narration and her beautiful smile make you wish you did. It's amazing how these few pages can so quickly pull that emotion together.
Mariachi has a damn good opening issue. It grabs you from page one and keeps your attention throughout. It does this with only three characters – four if you count a particularly menacing scorpion. The comic builds to an incredible showdown between the Mariachi and the coyote that raises the title character to all new levels of badassery. I cannot wait to see more.