Garth Ennis has some amazing work under his belt, not least of which is Preacher. However, some of his shorter works haven’t had quite the same impact. Bloody Mary follows a similar path to this previous work, including Pride & Joy and Just a Pilgrim: mixing genres (in this case horror, sci-fi and war) with a promising concept that loses something along the way.
Mary Malone is a special-forces operative of the highest calibre, fighting a third world war for an Anglo-American alliance against a Europe unified under a facist dictator. She’s tall, blonde and aggressive – if this were a film from twenty years ago, she’d have been played by Brigitte Nielsen.
There are two story arcs collected in the book, previously published in two four-part comics. The first serves as a decent introduction to Mary’s world and shows how she became a top soldier – she’ll go to any lengths to complete her mission, but if it involves dressing up as a nun, so much the better.
There’s more nun outfits in the second story, which is stronger than the first and carries through some of the themes and characters, but only adds a little depth to them.
In fact, despite the potential for farce, the stories are relatively humourless affairs. The future portrayed in the book is a bleak one, and while these are fair action stories for those who like a bit of politics and sci-fi with their guns and nuns, it left us only semi-entertained and wishing that Ennis would spend more time on his master-pieces and less on the semi-interesting asides.
Other titles by Garth Ennis: