Nov 8, 2017

Warren Ellis Comics That Don’t Need Movies: Anna Mercury

Anna Louise Britton lives in the real world, but she works somewhere else.

Warren Ellis Comics That Don’t Need to Be Adapted to Screen
Anna Mercury
Ellis, Facundo
Travis Hedge Coke

If Tokyo Storm Warning is about the real and the imaginary, and Simon Spector, public semblance versus private duty, Anna Mercury can be said to be an onion of reals. Layers and layers, some dried out and colorful, some a bit wetter, thinner, thick, striated, frangible and flexible. The realities of work, of home, of public self and within the privacy of one’s own clothes and dress up.

Anna dresses up, big hair, big boobs, exciting leather and a fancy baton to smack people with, and she has a special work name for when she’s dressed and operating. She gets shot into other realities that hang near our Earth, but are unreachable and unidentifiable by conventional means. And, as good protagonists do, especially in action stories, she solves problems you’d need a specialist to solve. Spy-fi plus.

We have one full story, and half another, published. It’s probably best that it stopped there. This is not a very weird set up, for a story, but for a movie of the budget it would need, it’s probably too weird. The comic already has to repeat some facts, like how Earth discovered other Earths. If it were a television show, it would require constant reiteration of basic tenets, half-nonsense explanations pinged at the audience after every single commercial break. You’d get sick of it.

By keeping it tight, by keeping the length of the story down and the price of production as low as ink, paper, and six tons of thinking hard about the subject, Anna Mercury remains reasonably budget and sufficiently direct enough it stays exciting. It lasted only long enough to get weirder and weirder, faster and stronger, a winding tight of multiple threads into a strong rope. Or, a whip. Or, a fancy baton for smacking people.

That, to me, is what Anna Mercury is. It’s a concentrated Matrix. It’s an all-frills Black Widow movie you’re never ever going to get. I can’t stand, “____ on drugs,” so let’s say, instead, a James Bond movie where they really want to screw with the audience. Sliders with a social conscience and more brain. Not a thriller with science fiction, not a spy adventure with superheroics. It doesn’t cheapen its science fiction for thrills, or present a spy in a superhero world as if world does not effect the people living in it. And, by being a comic, it escapes the reasons those other things aren’t Anna Mercury.

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