The Black Monday Murders #1
Words by: Jonathan Hickman
Art By: Tomm Coker
Colors by: Michael Garland
Letters by: Rus Wooton
Review by Deanna Chapman
How many first issues of a comic require a table of contents? Ones that bring you over 50 pages of content to hook you and draw you in? The Black Monday Murders did just that. It’s a blend of horror and noir. Image presents it as “a story of human sacrifice” before you even hit the first page of content. The premise of the story is that the banking cartels are actually schools of magic. It goes back to 1929 and jumps to present day.
If that doesn’t sell you on the comic already, the combination of writing and art by Hickman and Coker probably will. Hickman is known for a lot of big stories, Manhattan Projects immediately comes to mind. The writing is fantastic and he even included little dossiers to clear up how the magic and cartels correlate, which was helpful. There’s a lot packed into this first issue, but the writing is heavy where it needs to be and sparse where it makes sense. The art by Coker is well done and hugely puts emphasis on facial expressions. This helps with telling the story where the words do not. It was pleasantly surprising.
We can’t forget to touch on the colors and lettering, because those are just as important, and they helped give the book that horror/noir feel. The book is dark, as it’s meant to be. This isn’t your bright and fun magic show you’ll see at a kids birthday party. It’s serious business and people will be losing their lives over it. Michael Garland did an excellent job with making sure the color palette reflected that. Rus Wooton had lettering to do for various types of pages. The dossier type pages gave you that typewriter feel, as if you were reading some top secret file (the redactions helped with that, too). The narration and character conversations had a font that just worked. It’s frustrating when you get some weird fonts that are hard to read just because magic or some other unexpected language comes up. This was nice and easy to read.
Banking is a very real thing in our world, magic, probably not so much, but this story has just enough of the latter to pull you away from all of the crazy real world issues going on. That’s what comics are for a lot of people. A brief little escape, and in this case about 50 pages of it.
Buy. This might not have been on your pull list, and Image normally doesn’t have a higher price tag like Marvel does, but this issue is well worth it. It’s length isn’t the only thing that makes it worth it, but the new, original story does. Especially check it out if noir is your thing at all. The horror factor is there, but isn’t anything like reading a Stephen King book (not yet, anyway). The schools of magic and the inner workings of the bank cartels make this one intriguing enough to want to keep up with it.