Comics expopreview201604-review35-84212

Published on August 10th, 2016 | by Noel Thorne

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The Black Monday Murders #1 Review

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The Black Monday Murders is a Jonathan Hickman comic which means it’s got to feature a small cabal of mysterious strangers wielding immense power! This one’s got something to do with money and worshipping Mammon. Oh, so it’s an obvious commentary on America’s capitalist economy – Americans literally worshipping money. Sigh. It’s also very, very boring!

Like other Hickman comics this one features lots of pretty designs and symbols that don’t mean much while the stuff that matters, ie. character and story, are poorly constructed, forgettable and unengaging. Apparently a religious cult runs the world’s markets and worship of Mammon (here the god-like manifestation of wealth) ensures they keep going smoothly; when they crash (always on “Black” days like “Black Thursday” for the 1929 crash or “Black Monday” for the 1987 crash), blood sacrifices are required. Think brokers in 1929 jumped to their deaths out of despair? Think again!

Hickman also points out that the major stock market crashes all happened in October, Samhain happens at the end of October (“Halloween” to non-Pagans), and the markets always open up on November 1st – wooooooo, occult shenanigans!

After such riveting scenes of an old geezer lecturing the youngs on money and some Russians talk in a car, the vague beginnings of a story finally emerges towards the end of the comic: a bland, stoic hero cop begins investigating the Mammon cult’s murders. Great, a dreary police procedural – but at least it’s something. Except long before the end of this extra-long first issue (52 pages!), the setup and info dumps had overwhelmed what interest I’d had when I started reading.

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There is a lot of filler though with unnecessary and elaborate family trees and corporate structures and a pretentious contents page (for a single issue comic!), so it’s really more like 40 or so pages long. Considering other Image releases like Outcast and Monstress had bumper first issues but maintained a $2.99 price tag, the $4.99 on this comic feels overpriced.

Tomm Coker contributes decent realistic art with some vividly-drawn murder scenes, and the cover is pretty cool, but there’s nothing visually special in this comic that’ll blow you away.

The Black Monday Murders #1 is an overlong, over-complicated, underwhelming, clunky, slow, and largely uninteresting start to a series which left me indifferent to wherever the overarching story is going. Hickman fanatics will lap this up, convinced that his sloppy, inscrutable storytelling portends a cerebral masterpiece on the level of Grant Morrison (it’s not even close), but they’re about the only ones who will. Don’t bother sacrificing your time and money on this rubbish.

expopreview201604-review35-84212

Publisher: Image

Writer: Jonathan Hickman

Artist: Tomm Coker

Colourist: Michael Garland

Noel Thorne

Probably reading comics as you're reading this.

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