Left on Mission

William Gatevackes

This is a spy thriller with meat. A page turner that stands up with the best Tom Clancy and Robert Ludlum have to offer but works on many different levels. It is frothy and deep at the same time.

Left on Mission

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Contributors: Artist: Francesco Francavilla
Price: $14.99
Writer: Chip Mosher
Length: 128
Formats: Trade Paperback
Issues: 5
US publication date: 2007-10

When you open the cover of a spy novel, you have certain expectations. You expect a lot of double dealing and backstabbing. You expect action and adventure. You expect exotic locations that span the globe. You expect danger around every corner.

Left on Mission might add the word "graphic" before the word "novel", but it meets the above expectations and more. This is a spy thriller with meat. A page turner that stands up with the best Tom Clancy and Robert Ludlum have to offer but works on many different levels. It is frothy and deep at the same time.

A CIA operative by the name of Emma has gone rogue and stolen a laptop full of vital American secrets which she intends to sell to the Russian Mafia. A former agent by the name of Eric Westfall is called out of retirement to help bring her in. He and Emma had a relationship, and the CIA hopes that fact will allow him to get close enough to her to retrieve the laptop.

Of course, nothing is what it seems, either about the CIA's motives, Emma's reasons, or even the true nature of Emma and Eric's prior relationship. The nature of the spy thriller dictates that they wouldn't be. Left on Mission uses the conventions of the spy thriller to good effect. You are kept guessing, and the twists and turns are both realistic and unexpected.

On the surface, Left on Mission works as your typical espionage pot-boiler. You have your shadowy agents in shadowy lands doing shadowy deeds. But there is a subtext there about the nature of the spy business and the lengths the US will go to protect its citizens which mirror some of the major headlines of today.

This adds a deeper level to the piece, and it is presented in such a way as to be unobtrusive. If you are looking for a fun and mindless read, this subtext will not take away from that. But it is there so that people who want a little weight to their entertainment can take something away from the book.

Chip Mosher excels at creating vivid and well defined characters in a short amount of time. He creates a story that is complex enough to be interesting, yet simple enough to follow and be easy to understand. The twists and turns are well thought out and make sense in the context of the story.

Francesco Francavilla really impresses with his artwork. It sets the mood precisely and his style is evocative of masters such as Joe Kubert and Eduardo Barreto. He provides dead solid storytelling, which in this type of story is absolutely vital.

Left on Mission is a spy thriller that is both entertaining and engaging. If you like the genre, or just good comic books, you should pick this one up.






'World War 3 Illustrated #51: The World We Are Fighting For'

World War 3 Illustrated #51 displays an eclectic range of artists united in their call to save democracy from rising fascism.


Tiphanie Doucet's "You and I" Is an Exercise in Pastoral Poignancy (premiere)

French singer-songwriter Tiphanie Doucet gives a glimpse of her upcoming EP, Painted Blue, via the sublimely sentimental ode, "You and I".


PM Picks Playlist 3: WEIRDO, Psychobuildings, Lili Pistorius

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of WEIRDO, Brooklyn chillwavers Psychobuildings, the clever alt-pop of Lili Pistorius, visceral post-punk from Sapphire Blues, Team Solo's ska-pop confection, and dubby beats from Ink Project.

By the Book

The Story of Life in 10 1/2 Species (excerpt)

If an alien visitor were to collect ten souvenir life forms to represent life on earth, which would they be? This excerpt of Marianne Taylor's The Story of Life in 10 and a Half Species explores in text and photos the tiny but powerful earthling, the virus.

Marianne Taylor

Exploitation Shenanigans 'Test Tube Babies' and 'Guilty Parents' Contend with the Aftermath

As with so many of these movies about daughters who go astray, Test Tube Babies blames the uptight mothers who never told them about S-E-X. Meanwhile, Guilty Parents exploits poor impulse control and chorus girls showing their underwear.


Deftones Pull a Late-Career Rabbit Out of a Hat with 'Ohms'

Twenty years removed from Deftones' debut album, the iconic alt-metal outfit gel more than ever and discover their poise on Ohms.


Arcade Fire's Will Butler Personalizes History on 'Generations'

Arcade Fire's Will Butler creates bouncy, infectious rhythms and covers them with socially responsible, cerebral lyrics about American life past and present on Generations.


Thelonious Monk's Recently Unearthed 'Palo Alto' Is a Stellar Posthumous Live Set

With a backstory as exhilarating as the music itself, a Thelonious Monk concert recorded at a California high school in 1968 is a rare treat for jazz fans.


Jonnine's 'Blue Hills' Is an Intimate Collection of Half-Awake Pop Songs

What sets experimental pop's Jonnine apart on Blue Hills is her attention to detail, her poetic lyricism, and the indelibly personal touch her sound bears.


Renegade Connection's Gary Asquith Indulges in Creative Tension

From Renegade Soundwave to Renegade Connection, electronic legend Gary Asquith talks about how he continues to produce infectiously innovative music.


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


A Certain Ratio Return with a Message of Hope on 'ACR Loco'

Inspired by 2019's career-spanning box set, legendary Manchester post-punkers A Certain Ratio return with their first new album in 12 years, ACR Loco.


Oscar Hijuelos' 'Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love' Dances On

Oscar Hijuelos' dizzyingly ambitious foot-tapping family epic, Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love, opened the door for Latinx writers to tell their stories in all their richness.


PM Picks Playlist 2: Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES, SOUNDQ

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.


'Lost Girls and Love Hotels' and Finding Comfort in Sadness

William Olsson's Lost Girls and Love Hotels finds optimism in its message that life tears us apart and puts us back together again differently.


Bright Eyes' 'Down in the Weeds' Is a Return to Form and a Statement of Hope

Bright Eyes may not technically be emo, but they are transcendently expressive, beatifically melancholic. Down in the Weeds is just the statement of grounding that we need as a respite from the churning chaos around us.


Audrey Hepburn + Rome = Grace, Class, and Beauty

William Wyler's Roman Holiday crosses the postcard genre with a hardy trope: Old World royalty seeks escape from stuffy, ritual-bound, lives for a fling with the modern world, especially with Americans.


Colombia's Simón Mejía Plugs Into the Natural World on 'Mirla'

Bomba Estéreo founder Simón Mejía electrifies nature for a different kind of jungle music on his debut solo album, Mirla.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.