“They got blood on the money but I still count it…… I know the devil is real”-Future
Black Monday Murders is brilliant. Only two issues in and already this series feel’s as if it has more depth and intrigue then almost anything else in the medium. By blending the books mythology into reality, the comic is able to make astute and profound observations about humanity and the world we live in while still being a riveting piece of horror fiction.
Black Monday Murders writer Jonathan Hickman is well established as one of comics best and most creative creators. Having spent the last four years using his long running Avengers series to build to the epic Secret Wars while writing two of Image Comics best on-goings in East of West & The Manhattan Projects; Black Monday Murders feels like a total evolution for the writer and it makes for an incredibly exciting comic. Starting at the Fantastic Four, Hickman’s work has focused almost exclusively on his own brand of scientific nihilistic fantasy. Whether it was the apocalyptic future dystopia of East of West, the star traveling Manhattan Projects or the dimension hopping of Avengers/New Avengers; his comics were science fiction where the science played a central role in the story. In a way, Black Monday Murders is still very active in it’s science but this time, it’s the science of mathematics and because of it’s etymology, it ends up feeling like nothing Hickman has ever done before. Black Monday Murders is incredibly grounded in it’s setting but it’s mythology is staggeringly acute. In only the second issue of the series, so much ends up being revealed while still allowing for even more to be discovered. And while it’s pace is deceptively slow, it allows for it’s story and cast to be immersive.
Artist Tomm Coker and colorist Michael Garland greatly add to comics eerie familiarity by utilizing a visual style that adheres to a dark realism. Coker’s lines are sharp and his art has a classical feel to it, almost like a more well defined Mike Mignola and it work’s perfectly in blending the familiar with the fantastical.
His character acting is incredibly sharp as well and matched with the Hickman’s engrossing dialogue, Black Monday Murders almost feels like you are watching a film the deeper you get into the book. Coker’s use of movement and acting is deceptively subtle, but it’s mesmerizing when paired with Garland’s dark color pallet. Garland uses shade and shadows to capture the enviroment and creates a faint but active feeling of terror throughout the book. This is obvious in pages that focus on the supernatural elements
But it also holds true for the majority of the books setting in the classically designed corporate offices of New York’s old money investment banking
So much of Black Monday Murders is about making connections and creating a dark lore for real life institutions that are purposefully made to appear mundane in spite of their awesome power. Garland’s color work is essential and perhaps most effective in blurring the lines between what is common place in our reality within the books extraordinary context.
Black Monday Murders feel’s essential in a way that few comics do so early in their series. It’s mind bending and ingenious in it’s vivid approximation of the financial industry, wealth, history and mathematics with dark and ancient legend. In a post recession America where Wall Street is back to business as usual, Black Monday Murders feels vital in the way it ambitiously immerses that world with that of the supernatural and human history. But Black Monday Murders never shows any of that, it never wavers from it’s naturalism and it doesn’t get bogged down in it’s own complexity. The comics plot building is effortless in spite of the weight of it’s details. It’s extraordinary in almost any way imaginable.
I don’t know if the devil is real, but in Black Monday Murders I know how to find it. Follow the money. Even if it’s bloody, still count it.