Luiza Bora has only one real desire in life: To be part of the police. Unfortunately her personality type is a 57B — someone with an emotionally subnormal response to violence and no aversion to killing. So she’s out of luck working for law enforcement on Earth. Not on Mercury, however. In the far-future world of “Mercury Heat,” the planet closest to the sun is basically a sci-fi version of the Old West. Which is perfect for someone with Luiza’s personality. That becomes even more clear when an attempt on her life is made while she’s investigating the death of a technician who may have been murdered. Things aren’t all right on Mercury, and Luiza is prepared to crack as many skulls as necessary in order to get to the bottom of it.
Why did I pick this up? Because it’s a new series from Kieron Gillen. He’s still batting a thousand in my book, but I don’t see “Mercury Heat” as something to be embraced by the fans of his witty, fun-loving, and occasionally heartbreaking work on titles like “Phonogram,” “The Wicked + The Divine,” and “Young Avengers.” This is a straight-up action/sci-fi story about a woman who doesn’t fit into everyday life and is still determined to make the most of it on her terms. Luiza is a compelling protagonist because of this tension, and the fact that we see her to be quite resourceful and capable of handling everything that comes her way. It’d be nice if any of the other characters she encounters in this volume were as interesting as her, so that’s something Gillen can work on for vol. 2.
Omar Francia is the artist for the first half of this volume and the one responsible for most of the design work for this world, as revealed in the supplemental material in this volume. He’s good at giving this series a distinctive look with a lot of detail, but his characters are stiff and the flow of storytelling in the action sequences tends to get jumbled. Nahuel Lopez has a somewhat brighter, less-busy style to show off in the volume’s second half, though his work also suffers from the same issues. Lopez will be onboard for the next arc — which has Luiza taking on the Crossed, of all things — so I’ll be hoping for some improvement in the art. As it is, “Mercury Heat” will probably be best appreciated by established fans of Gillen’s work who have an interest in seeing the writer try new things.