Mann’s World has a simple start—a group of male friends on an “adventure” vacation together. Only instead of white water rafting through Alabama, they’re in the future and going to the title planet, which isn’t significant enough for environmentally exploiting so it’s just a giant resort. But for dudes who want to hunt; you can hunt dinosaurs, basically.
There are four characters in the group. There’s the pro-fighter guy, who seems super tough until we find out it’s probably all show-fighting and he’s not as actually tough as he’d like to be. He’s Burt Reynolds. Then there’s the narrator, who’s recently divorced or separated and this bro trip is supposed to get his mind right; Jon Voight. There’s the funny guy who owns a giant fast food franchise; Ned Beatty. Then there’s the other guy, who’s just around. Ronny Cox.
Presumably writer Victor Gischler doesn’t have a Deliverance arc in mind—not sure why I’m saying “presumably,” the series runs five issues; there’s plenty of time. But it seems like there will be some warning, as one of Gischler’s best traits on display here is the way he foreshadows and forecasts with just the right amount of pay-off in the end. He forecasts where these characters, based on just a bit of exposition, are inevitably going to lead.
The narrator isn’t sure about letting the pro-fighter guy play alpha but he lets him do it because the narrator is just Jon Voight and not Burt Reynolds. It’ll no doubt get them into more trouble later; this issue most of the trouble comes with the locals, meaning the folks who work at the resort but obviously don’t get to leave or eat in the resort. The fighter gets the heroes into a bit of a pickle before the narrator’s able to talk him down, but it turns out pissing off the staff at a resort with dinosaurs isn’t the way to go.
Gischler’s plotting is great, his characters are fine (we’ll see going forward if he can get away with them being caricatures, albeit with a lot of detail), and the hook is rock solid.
Niko Walker’s art could be a lot better—Mann’s World is another book where the digital colors (courtesy Snakebite Cortez) have to do a lot of perspective work, which isn’t great. But it reads fast enough you don’t dwell on the wanting panels. The figures are just way too inconsistent.
The art’s bearable thanks to Gischler’s writing, so as long as it stays strong, World should be okay. Enough. The cliffhanger—entirely predictable, entirely forecasted—is still just right thanks to Gischler’s superb plotting.