Review – The Black Monday Murders #1 (Image Comics)

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Click to enlarge.

Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Tomm Coker
Release Date: 10th August, 2016

“Money is the root of all evil”, or so the saying goes. And in the latest release from Jonathan Hickman & Tomm Coker, that is the undeniable truth as The Black Monday Murders posits that everyone from the IMF to Goldman Sachs to the Federal Reserve are in fact occult covens where vampire Russian oligarchs, Black Popes and American enchanters form uneasy alliances to keep us all in line.

The Wall Street crash of 1929 takes the sinister form of a sacrifice to a malignant evil named ‘Mammon’ – a New Testament word for Greed – and the notion of “blood money” is a theme that underlies it all.

It’s hardly a new metaphor for the corruption, avarice and sociopathic tendencies of New York’s financial district (or the banking establishment as a whole), but here Hickman adds to it by weaving an intricate, densely-plotted detective story into the mix.  The story sees the exiled sister of one of the cartels returns to prominence following the ritualised murder of her brother whilst a disgraced cop assigned the case seems to have an uncanny reading of the forces at work.

Returning to the style of his breakout debut The Nightly News, Hickman literally stuffs the issue – 50 pages!! – full of his trademark design work, as redacted transcripts and obtuse organisational charts give tantalising glimpses into the rich history of the competing hierarchies vying for control.

But it’s his skill for dialogue and character that really help anchor the more cosmological horrors of the story, and in artist Tomm Coker he couldn’t have picked a better collaborator. Coker’s gloomy, expressive inks and Michael Garland’s smoke-stained colours perfectly capture the mood of these shady, pitiless antagonists and their utter disdain for the 99%.

It’s as compelling and accomplished as debuts come, a rich tapestry of portentous conversations, archaic lore and gruesome murders that makes long speeches about stock trading drip with dread. It feels like the start of something very special.

Rating: 5/5.

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downsThe writer of this piece was: Chris Downs
Chris Tweets from @ChrisDownsy

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