Publisher: BOOM! Studios Writer: Justin Jordan Art: Jorge Coehlo Release Date: 5th August, 2015
As soon as I read the blurb for John Flood I knew it would be something I’d like to review. It’s an interesting take on the detective mould. John Flood, having been experimented on by a Government body, no longer has the need for sleep. Whatever this process was that worked in John’s case had one annoying side effect: John cannot now distinguish between dream and reality, he experiences reality as a dream. To help him function he has to walk around with a camcorder, checking off what he sees against what is actually on the camera’s LCD to make sure ‘the bats he sees aren’t actually there.’ The upside of this is that John has time on his hands, lots and lots of time on his hands that he uses for reading and …. well, basically that and for learning everything that he possibly can.
As a consequence of his unique condition and ever increasing knowledge, John can spot patterns in events that the normal brain would have difficulty seeing, and this ability makes him the ideal private detective.
I have to say John Flood issue one is pretty much perfect in its role. We learn of John’s unique condition and the benefits and weaknesses of it, we know he needs an assistant (Lyta) to help him get through the day, and when we meet John he’s hiring an ex-cop as muscle. It’s your standard triumvirate – John, the eccentric centrepiece (Sherlock Holmes), Lyta the level headed organiser (Mrs Hudson), and Alexander, the muscle with a heart that carries a burden of a past wrongdoing (Dr Watson). I’ve no idea if this is the case, but I like the symmetry in that.
Threaded in between the various protagonist introductions we’re also introduced to the main antagonist, a monster of a man who seems to do nothing other than kill random people. In very bloody ways. With knives. Lots and lots of knives. His debut shows him hunting his current victim down like prey. The soon to be deceased man runs back to his house (and friends) for help, but they are already dead, slaughtered by our big bad. It shows he’s intelligent and not just a mindless killer (perhaps the Moriarty to our Sherlock Holmes)? I’ll stop with the comparisons now.
Back to John and the interview of Alexander in which he has to stop John being attacked by a disgruntled ex-client (something John denies he actually planned, but we get the feeling that isn’t the case). With the audition over we get to find out why John has decided to hire some muscle. He has pieced together a collection of events that all tie back to our big bad, and without any way of tracking him down John had Lyta make a video collating all the documented evidence he’s found and uploaded it to You Tube. They hope to lure the killer to them, the video has gone viral, and guess who has just seen it….
The art of John Flood works well, the layouts are not complicated with most pages splitting between one large panel and three to six smaller ones. Coehlo’s line work is great, and very reminiscent of architectural sketch work – lots of fine lines and crosshatch shading. This is accompanied by what looks like freehand perspectives boasting magnificent details that make the pages feel like glorious eye candy – plus all the perspectives look to be inked freehand giving a certain dreamlike quality in some frames that may be an obvious reference to the subject matter. The colouring by Tamra Bonvillain further enforces the architectural feel to the artwork, the colours look like felt ink, and block tones are used to depict shadows. The marriage of the fine ink lines and the block shadows is really, really satisfying to look at.
This is a great introduction to the world of John Flood, and after the success of Jordan’s previous works, specifically The Strange Talent of Luther Strode, a lot of people will be watching this newcomer with interest to see what he turns out next. It is a very solid start – we get just enough insight to get us comfortable in the world of John Flood and the introduction of this cast of characters, and there is just enough promise there to make us come back to see what happens next.
Chris J Says…
So every week we get given a list of titles that we (the reviewers) fight over, like some gladiatorial battle of speed to get to the titles we want first. Many of the guys and gals carefully research and pick the titles they want to review. I unfortunately use the “eenie meenie” method. So imagine my shock when I see John Flood getting a lot of requests. It was safe to say that Chris may have picked a winner…. And wow did I! Andrew McGlinn, a fellow reviewer, told me a little about it and I became a little apprehensive. Like Sheldon cooper famously stated, I was going into this with my mind already blown. Sorry Justin (Jordan) and Jorge (Coehlo) your job just got that much harder. But to all reading this, I assure you that my mind was re-blown upon reading this title.
So, a quick synopsis; John Flood was experimented on by his government, and through undisclosed procedures has been given the ability to render sleep moot. This leaves our protagonist in a permanent dream state, which is later apparent when he is caught walking about with a camcorder to help him determine wither or not the bats are real. Yeah, he sees bats (comic book detectives do love their bats). The story follows the initial interview of Berry, a disgraced police officer who is no longer on the force. Lyta, Floods assistant, convinces Berry to meet with her boss for a job in which he is more appropriately skilled. Upon entering Flood’s base of operations it is clear to Berry that Flood is quite eccentric, this is due to the extensive catalog of ‘’hobbies” which flood appears to have accrued to keep him sane.
Meanwhile, out in the wilderness, there appears to be a meth cook running away from a possible killer. The meth cook reaches his gangs meth lab, seeking help in dealing with this menace, only to find they met a grizzly end. At this point, the reader sees this hulking form for all he is, a behemoth, who appears to be equally as intelligent. Flood’s interview process appears to be a little different, as an angry ex client attempts to kill Flood, at which point Berry intervenes. Now at this point Berry questions whither or not this was a set up, as does the reader. Flood states he can see things that others cant? This made me think of Luc Beeson’s Lucy or Keifer Sutherland’s son’s abilities in Touch.
The story, by Justin Jordan, is captivating and has the readers attention form the word “GO”. You can’t help but be drawn to the character Berry, as he appears to be the guilt-ridden, ex cop who’s looking to right the wrong of his past, but also inevitably find yourself morbidly curious about Flood’s abilities, and how he is able to see things, almost precognitively. Then there’s the artwork by Jorge Coehlo, which is simply breathtaking. A little different from the norm, but it works incredibly well with the story.
All in all, a great piece of work, which everyone should get their teeth into! Take a bow guys, take a bow.
INTERIOR ARTWORK [Click to Enlarge]