Review: Black Monday Murders #1

“MAMMON” ALL HAIL GOD MONEY!385205._SX640_QL80_TTD_

Written by: Jonathan Hickman
Art by: Tom Coker
Colours by: Michael Garland
Letters by : Rus Wooton

It’s another Wednesday and another number one from Image. Will this, the latest offering from planner extraordinaire Jonathan Hickman be able to outlast many of the others dropped at an almost blitzkrieg rate? 

At it’s core, Black Monday Murders is a tale of greed and how it can consume a man. Much like many of Hickman’s work however this is not just a one dimensional affair. The story begins in the market crash of 1929 but this is not a simple story of mis-managed hedge funds and stocks, the whole system of capitalism is built around a dark and ancient religion which gives with one hand and mercilessly takes with the other. The order is kept in check and monitored by four pillars, in this instance four human beings who represent them, each having their own responsibilities and duties to not only reap as much as they can from the system but to ensure the pact is maintained. Even if it means a brutal death of one of their own group.

We then jump forward in time to the present and find that the world has changed in any ways except when it comes to man’s greed. This is where the story becomes more interesting. Enter police detective Theodore James Dumas, who has more than a good eye for details in his arsenal. Dumas is brought out of his desk suspension and sent back out into the field when one of New Yorks most pre-eminent stock brokers is found murdered in what appears to be a ritual killing. Many, many Predator 2 vibes going on in this sequence. As with all Hickman stories there is but a sprinkling of what is actually going on in this first issue but if you take the time to absorb all of the extra information and really pay attention to the books contents then there is the beginning of a very interesting mystery.

Along with Hickman and his unique brand of storytelling a lot of the praise for this issue does need to go to the art team. Tom Coker and Michael Garland have done a phenomenal job on this book. Starting out in the 1920’s where they both do a great job of capturing the essence of the period, many props need to go to Garland on this front. They style from the art team manages to remain the same whilst depicting a world almost a century apart. The modern sequences in this book keep the same neo-noir vibe whilst being very modern and fresh at the same time. Letterer Rus Wooton is doing a solid job on the book, having only the odd moment to shine when the ancient tongue is being spoken but the choice of an old typeface to punctuate the book really works nicely here in a story which could continue to hop timelines. It’s a very simple technique which keeps the book aligned and focused.

for some Hickman’s storytelling can feel very cold and distant, more like he is observing a set of rules he has already put in place months before. For some it’s a meticulously planned and well executed journey which you know will be a long ride that goes at it’s own pace. Whatever side of the argument you come down on Black Monday Murders is an interesting and entertaining beginning to a mystery you’d be hard pressed to work out any time soon. definitely one for fans of Brubaker and Philips.

Story – 4/5
Art – 5/5
Overall – 9/10

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About writingtwentytwopages

Amateur writer looking to tell stories about made up things. Lover of comics, movies, pulp and noir. Lives in the north of England where its cold and wet.

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