Thursday, August 7, 2014

MISC. MANGA, *The Middleman

Some might remember the fatally short-lived live-action TV series on ABC Family, but the original comics was layered with anime-influences. Written by Javier Grillo-Marxuach whose also written for Lost and Law and Order, and drawn by Les McClaine, The Middleman is a mix of X-Files and Agents Of SHIELD about a secret underground organization that protects mankind from alien menaces, mad scientists, luchadores, and gorilla supervillains.

Mild-mannered artist Wendy Watson is dragged into the strange hidden world of the Middleman when a literal tentacle monster breaks out of a lab she's part-timing out. The Middleman himself is the nameless single ranking officer of this bizarre agency, and takes Wendy on as his subordinate. In their first case, they have to stop a mob made entirely of genetically modified apes put together by a estranged scientist. Their next outing has Wendy learning the martial arts ropes by the world-renowned masked fighter, Sensei Ping, who gets kidnapped by a clan of Mexican wrestlers. The last outing has the Middleman crew confronting the criminal organization called FATBOY lead by Kanimang Kang who has ties to the mysterious Middleman's past.

The series ran for two mini-series which were collected into their own trade paperbacks, while the third one skipped the mini-series and went straight to graphic novel, and all three were eventually put into a now out of print omnibus. There was also another direct-to-trade paperback which acted as a finale to the live-action series which never got made. All four of these have recently been re-released directly through, so you should definitely give them a look.

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