Minerva's Map #1
Marshal Minerva has been hired by the Saving Hand Foundation to locate two equally ancient, otherworldly items and the individuals who hold them. Sounds easy enough for the woman that can find anything she seeks. But Marshal can never catch a break and, in her life, there is always something larger at play. Car chases, prehistoric temples, fire-wielding Eurotrash thugs, unwarranted self-confidence, and a fish named Conor – Marshal Minerva has a dangerous road ahead of her.
There aren’t enough adventure comics in my life…This is entirely my own fault to be honest. I tend to get wrapped up in superhero comics with very little exception and it’s usually to the exclusion of so many other genres out there. Minerva’s Map reminded me of that in the best way. The comparison to an Indiana Jones-style adventure here is obvious but that’s the thrill of this comic. Reading it carried me back to my youth and the first time I read a Tin Tin comic. This issue is the start of an ADVENTURE and Stefan Tosheff has captured that spirit of adventure that comics like Tin Tin and Indiana Jones movies have imbued in them with a strong mix of action, mystery, and humor that are the hallmarks of a good romp.
The character dialogue is solid and the main character investigator Minerva Marshall is delightful with her confidence and exceptionally bad jokes. Pacing is solid too with Tosheff starting us off with some action that conveys the steaks involved before cutting to a formal introduction to Minerva and how she becomes embroiled in this mystery. Tosheff brings us into Minerva’s world and through the introduction of the villains of the issue paints a world around the character and imbues the characters with a sense of history that is organic and helps draw one into the story even more before cranking up the action for the last part of the book. Minerva’s jokes are terrible so naturally, I loved every one of them but those jokes buoy the dialogue in several places and the dialogue works better because of it.
The art is excellent. Tosheff shows his ability to panel well (especially in the latter part of the issues and that he’s not afraid to play with multiple angles and points of view which makes for a comic that never feels static but dynamic and on the move which I really appreciate. The final action scene is elevated by the paneling and dynamism Toshef brings across in every panel punctuated with fantastic single splash pages. The linework is complimented by the coloring which vibrant and never dull.
Honestly, as someone agonizing over my first comic script I cannot imagine the fortitude it takes a singular individual to create a 27-page comic by themselves and really Toshef handles the story, character building, pacing and art superbly. If I have any criticism it would be that the lettering of this issue does not quite live up to the high standard that the rest of the comic sets with several grammatical errors in the dialogue but that’s really small potatoes as the rest of the comic is an absolute joy to read.
Minerva's Map #1: The Key To The Perfect Apocalypse is an excellent first issue, from creator Stefan Toshef, of an adventure series that gets the mix of action, mystery, and humor just right for a thrilling romp with great art from cover to the last page that reminded me of how fun adventure comics can be.
Minerva’s Map #1: I Can Find Anything Including Trouble
Writing - 7/107/10
Storyline - 7/107/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 8/108/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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