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I'M NOT A MONSTER, IT'S ONLY A MASK

Two Best Friends Go Henching (First Look)

By Thedude3445, author of Rainbow Destructor

Jun 9, 2019: "I’m Not a Monster, It’s Only a Mask" (or "Only a Mask") starts off phenomenally with one of the best first chapters I’ve read in a piece of superhero fiction. We’re introduced to our two protagonists Sam and Maxwell, best friend young adults who are down on their luck and in desperate need of a new job—one that happens to be becoming henchmen for a supervillain. The chapter consists only of the job interview, with almost nothing about the plot revealed, but the characters are so strong that it instantly hooks you. This is real good stuff.

Anyone who’s seen (the fantastic) Venture Bros. knows that the world of henchmen is absolutely ripe for storytelling possibilities, and "Only a Mask" seems to be taking a cue from that series by turning supervillain lackey business into a workplace comedy about young adults trying to make their way through life, about lifelong friends trying to keep their bond going strong. It’s not a premise that’s had as much focus as you’d expect! There’s zero action thus far, and I honestly hope that it trends way more towards the real-life comedy and drama than chapters and chapters of fighting because the characters are what I’m here for.

A strong buddy dynamic is essential in comedy or action, I believe, and Sam and Maxwell (I see what you did there with the names, by the way) are a great fit. Not quite mirror reflections, not quite two peas in a pod, but two characters who absolutely work well together. Also, the story hasn’t even begun to broach this yet, but there is some strong queer coding from both of them, and I very much appreciate a duo of a dashing gay man and a brash lesbian woman.

I also have to point out that this story’s website is fantastically well-designed, and has some of the best character art I’ve seen for a web serial. They say not to judge a book by its cover, but I’m judging it.

There’s two chapters so far, each of them about 5,000 words so they feel like they are each a comic book issue. It’s not very far into the story yet, and I hope that the chapters come out more frequently than the monthly schedule thus far, but there is a LOT of promise to be had with "Only the Mask", and I hope you jump on board while it’s still brand-new!

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