Mercy Sparx is a comic series created and written by Josh Blaylock and drawn by Matt Merhoff. The series was originally published by Devil’s Due Publishing (which Blaylock founded) over 5 issues (#0-4) in 2008-09, and collected in Vol. 1: Heaven’s Dirty Work (2009).
Mercy Sparx, in a nutshell, is a devil girl who is recruited by Heaven to hunt down rogue angels on Earth with the help of metalhead Hank, a human.
The first issue of a second series was published as part of Free Comic Book Day in 2009, but, the title and, soon, the publisher went dormant. But, in April 2012, Devil’s Due returned, and, in 2013, Mercy Sparx followed. The new ongoing comic series was funded via a Kickstarter campaign; and, issues #1-4 have been published to date (with the FCBD issue included as part of #1). The original series was reprinted in January 2014, while issues #1-5 of the new series will be collected as Vol. 2: Under New Management later this summer.
In 2004, Josh Blaylock‘s Devil’s Due Publishing launched Tim Seeley‘s comic series Hack/Slash, and, in 2010, a one-shot crossover Hack/Slash & Mercy Sparx: A Slice of Hell was published. The comic was written by Josh Blaylock, with art by Joe Song. I love, in that comic, Mercy and Cassie‘s assessment of each other: “She seemed like a wannabe hardass to me. A fucking whiny kid,” Mercy tells Hank; while Cassie tells Vlad, “That Mercy’s kind of a bitch.”
Josh Blaylock also crossed-over one of his other titles Misplaced (2003-04) with another one of my favorites, Josh Howard‘s Dead@17. It was called Misplaced@17 (2004), and featured Blaylock‘s interdimensional heroine Alyssa and Howard‘s undead demon hunter Nara Kilday as roomates. Artists named Josh and cute comic girls go together, I guess. But, of course, Blaylock does sexy comic girls, too …
Mercy Sparx, like Hack/Slash, is well-written, wonderfully drawn, and anchored by a badass female who kicks rogue angel (or slasher) ass with mad skills. I don’t understand why comics with strong female leads don’t become summer blockbuster movie adaptations. Mercy Sparks is like a female version of Mike Mignola‘s Hellboy comic, sort of. But, as good as Guillermo del Toro‘s Hellboy movie adaptations have been, I’d much rather see a heroine like Mercy Sparx (or Cassie Hack) on the big screen. Anyway …
Vol. 1: Heaven’s Dirty Work
Issue #0 – Mercy Sparx, a devil girl living in Sheol (somewhere in between Heaven and Hell), is told by a large demon known as Mr. Suit that she is needed by Heaven to perform a task on Earth. She scoffs. He punches her, and, she wakes on Earth in human form, with blonde hair!
Issue #1 – Mercy‘s task is to hunt down rogue angels, thereby doing “Heaven’s dirty work.” She subdues them by taking their halos. Mercy gets her orders from Mr. Suit, and must report to enigmatic minister Pastor Jeremiah. She lives with metalhead Hank who makes anti-angel gadgets for her to use. In this issue, Mercy takes down Serendipity, a muse working on Earth as a club DJ, but, is accosted by her friend, a rogue angel who is not on Mercy‘s list.
Issue #2 – Mercy is tasked with taking down Elysa, a muse who, on Earth, is a raver. But, Elysa also moved up to guardian status, and, is a much harder mark. Their battle is lengthy and brutal. However, muses hate heavy metal, and, thanks to Hank‘s brutal metal mix, Mercy eventually prevails.
Favorite line: “She needs music… art. Man… angels are so gay,” Mercy says in regards to Elysa‘s need to recharge with creative energy (that isn’t heavy metal music).
Issue #3 – Mercy learns from Nahmat, a powerful angel, that she isn’t working for Heaven, that she’s been duped into hunting rogue angels. Nahmat tells Mercy that she has to clean up her mess, while Heaven continues their investigation. Mercy is attacked by Cybile, another rogue angel friend of Elysa‘s, and, a brutal fight ensues, as Mercy attempts to explain that she’s been duped. However, just as Mercy is about to get Cybile to talk, Hank intervenes, taking her halo, much to Mercy‘s dismay.
Note: When Mercy calls, Hank is in bed with Alyssa, Josh Blaylock‘s Misplaced heroine.
Issue #4 – Mercy and Hank, with help from “voodoo Webster” Wallace, summon Mr. Suit, against his will. He learns that he, too, has been duped. Jeremiah is actually Sandolphon, a rouge angel who has been harvesting pure souls and planning to use Mercy in order to succeed where Lucifer failed by taking on God. However, Mercy, through her collected halos, is possessed by Lucifer himself who foils Sandolphon‘s nefarious plot. In the end, Nahmat tells Mercy that Heaven likes that she’s on Earth. “You have got to be shitting me!” Mercy snipes. “I’m stuck here doing Heaven’s dirty work… just under new management?”
I’ll do a post about Vol. 2: Under New Management, when the trade paperback is released, but, I’ve read issues #1-4 of this new ongoing series, and, it’s better than ever. Hopefully, Josh Blaylock, with fan support, will be able to keep this title going for at least as long as Hack/Slash‘s ongoing series. Speaking of Hack/Slash …
Hack/Slash & Mercy Sparx: A Slice of Hell (One-Shot)
Cassie and Vlad, somewhere in the Midwest, save Father Arzola from vengeful slasher James Kirtland, a historian whom the regretful priest had killed for prying into church secrets. Cassie and Vlad, needing cash, sell the slasher’s sword to a pawn shop. A week later, Mercy and Hank arrive to hunt down a rogue angel working as a baker. While Mercy gets her mark, Hank buys the sword left by Cassie and Vlad. Mercy tells Hank that the sword (which is tattooed on her back) is actually the weapon of the angel Hasmed who is famous for misplacing it on Earth. Now, Mercy and Hank are forced to join together with Cassie and Vlad when Kirtland‘s lover Sister Lewis, who committed suicide, returns as a slasher to claim the sword.
My favorite part of this excellent one-shot is the banter between the characters in the diner afterward. “Hey homos, we’re ready to order!” Mercy announces to Hank and Vlad bonding in the parking lot. “What’s wrong, Casey?” Mercy smirks, wondering why she’s so sullen. “Nothing Marcy,” Cassie rebuts. Later, Hank admits, with envy: “Man at least you guys fight ugly monsters and shit. We gotta beat up hot angel chicks all the time. Hurts my heart.”
This crossover melts my heart!
Mercy Sparx is an awesome comic series, one of my top 5 favorites, but, mixing it up with Hack/Slash, my #1 favorite comic series, is a match made in Heaven, or Sheol, at least. In fact, if I ever get the money, I’m getting Cassie and Mercy tattooed on me! Maybe Violet Grimm, too!