Fighting Through the Sins of Man

An article by, Aaron Burton

As many of us know, International Women's Day occurred last week. This was a great day to appreciate all of the strong and powerful women that have made a difference in our world, as well as the women we love and care about. It was also the perfect opportunity to read new comics centered around some awesome ladies.

Mayhem! is written and drawn by Cait Zellers. The title is published by Miss Mayhem Studios. The comic premiered in March of last year. The second part of the story came out on February 28th 2018. Mayhem! is an action/adventure story with a strong cast of female characters.

Miss Mayhem's Underground Fighting Ring boasts the best fights from a series of costumed characters. This culture is similar to what us readers would call "professional wrestling". One night the show ends abruptly when the very odd Ambrosious Von Periwinkle, along with his army of glitter ninjas, kidnaps an important member of Miss Mayhem's crew. It is now up to the fighters to break into Von Periwinkle's fortress and rescue their friend.

There is a lot of symbolism to be found in Mayhem! The main characters are all strong women, and the plot reflects this. The neon sign outside of Miss Mayhem's is reminiscent of Rosie the Riveter. Thus far, Ambrosious and his minions are the only characters to be referred as male. Ambrosious is also openly misogynist. This makes their evil fortress, the aptly named Dante's Manferno, even more more entertaining. The layers of the base are named after the Seven Deadly Sins. The group must fight their way through each sin-themed layer in order to save the day. This is a creative way to set up a villain for female-centric storytelling. All of these symbols put together makes the story feel more allegorical than many other action/adventure books I have read recently.

Gauntlet-style story lines often offer a great foundation in which to build the plot. This setup also allows the characters to tack different issues one piece at a time. we have seen this format in many comics, including Loeb's The Long Halloween. The characters can move at a pace that fits comfortably in a single issue while still allowing freedom to discuss a variety of topics.

The second issue really ramps up the action. This is where we see the fighters battle their way through the first floor of Dante's Manferno. Seeing Miss Mayhem's crew fight together for the first time gives us a good idea of the team's strengths and weaknesses. This will come into play as they further explore the tower. Though each character has their specialty they do not feel like archetypes. This gives the characters room to grow as the story progresses.

My favorite part of Mayhem! is the character design. Every  hero and villain has their own distinct style. Miss Mayhem has an eye patch and a feather-lined cape, whereas Woodchuck dons a cutoff punk rock vest.  Each character feels original which pairs perfectly with their distinct personalities. I would have to say my favorite characters on Miss Mayhem's crew are the pair of stoic twin acrobats.

I have always loved the idea of professional wrestlers being the same heroes outside of their job in entertainment. While this is not the exact plot of Mayhem! the book still seems to embody the spirit of strong wrestling personas. With the theme being centered around the Seven Deadly Sins, we can assume that there will be at least six more issues of this book. It will be exciting to see how the group approaches each of the floor's themes as they make their way to fight Ambrosious Von Periwinkle. I hope to see a lot more  Mayhem! in my life very soon. You can buy it for yourself here!

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