Review – Maniac Of New York: Don’t Call It A Comeback #2 (AfterShock Comics)

Publisher: AfterShock Comics
Writer: Elliott Kalan
Artist: Andrea Mutti
Lettering: Taylor Esposito
Release Date: 12th April 2023

In the first issue of “Don’t Call it a Comeback”, the third volume of Elliott Kalan and Andrea Mutti’s distinctive take on horror icons like Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers, it seemed like New York would finally get a little peace and quiet in the wake of the brutal extermination of ‘Maniac Harry’, a masked serial killer who had been terrorizing the city for years. However, as you might expect, that turned out not to be the case at all, and the fragile peace was almost immediately shattered by the emergence of a brand-new female killer wearing the same mask and carrying the same hooked blade as her predecessor.

This new killer has been dubbed ‘Maniac Mary’ by the media, with certain news outlets and politicians actively celebrating her exploits, which to this point involve massacring a group of homeless people in Central Park (i.e. “doing what everyday New Yorkers are too scared to.”) Amidst the rise in carnage, Detective Zelda Pettibone is interrupted from her tell-all book deal and finds herself reaching out once again to Gina Greene, the former Task Force Director responsible for killing the original Maniac, to help deal with this brand new threat.

Honestly, the Maniac of New York series may very well be one of my favourite things AfterShock Comics has ever produced. Kalan’s writing is sharp and incisive with little in the way of wasted motion, and the way he plays up the social and political themes surrounding the killer is masterfully done – subtle in places, but gloriously and intentionally heavy-handed in others.

Similarly, Mutti’s artwork perfectly fits the tone of the story, ebbing and flowing from quiet, character-focused beats to crimson-soaked carnage at the turn of a page. I particularly love the almost supernaturally brutal way both Maniacs dispatch their victims, cutting a swathe through them with apparent ease and lopping off limbs and heads with a flick of their blades.

This latest issue sees the sociopolitical aspect of the story being ratcheted up significantly, with “Mary” adding to her cult following by hacking up a group of carjackers mid-crime, and even inspiring some copycat ‘tributes’ alongside her extremist news pundit advocates.  It’s all cleverly done, although this issue does delve a little deeper into the origin of “Mary” (and indeed “Harry” before her) and why the whole Maniac situation keeps happening, which I felt was perhaps a little unnecessary.  I’ve never really been a fan of origin stories or explanations for these types of single-minded killing machines, and while I’m sure these revelations will serve the story as it unfolds, I far preferred it when the Maniac was just a relentless force of destruction.

Delivering a thrilling blend of B-movie horror and razor-sharp social commentary, I honestly can’t recommend this series, and its two predecessors, enough.

Rating: 4/5.


The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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