Series: The Black Monday Murders
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Tomm Coker, with Michael Garland on Colors and Lettering by Rus Wooton
Publisher: Image Comics
Summary from Comixology: “”MAMMON” ALL HAIL GOD MONEY! From JONATHAN HICKMAN (EAST OF WEST, Secret Wars, Avengers) and TOMM COKER (UNDYING LOVE) comes a new crypto-noir series about the power of dirty, filthy money… and exactly what kind of people you can buy with it. THE BLACK MONDAY MURDERS is classic occultism where the various schools of magic are actually clandestine banking cartels who control all of society: a secret world where vampire Russian oligarchs, Black popes, enchanted American aristocrats, and hitmen from the International Monetary Fund work together to keep ALL OF US in our proper place.”
I… don’t know where to start. Real talk. I had heard about this comic but really didn’t dig to find out what it was about because I prefer to be surprised by a story, and I just generally don’t want to give myself a reason to not pick up a book. Sometimes, when you know too much going in, it’s easy to prejudge a series before you’ve even read the first issue. I knew this has occult themes and that it was written by Jonathan Hickman, and that’s all that mattered. The work he’s done at Marvel has had massive long-term impact on the main continuity of their comic universe, more so than any other writer in recent years. (Go right now and get S.H.I.E.L.D. Vol 1: Architects of Forever. That is maybe my favorite thing he’s ever written. Well, next to…) He’s also the writer/creator of East of West (art by Nick Dragotta), which is also published by Image Comics. East of West is
probably the most… complex… series I read, or have ever read. The character’s stories intertwine so intricately and the visuals are vert grandiose. It’s truly a brilliant comic series.
I get the feeling that TBMM will be similar in it’s character building, but is clearly leaving much, much more to mystery.
Ok, so what can I tell you about TBMM that I understood enough to coherently explain it… hmm… uh… there are people, and they say things… and… uh… there is a society of supernatural people with metaphysical abilities and characteristics who secretly dictate the direction of our world cultures and governments. I basically just reworded the summary huh? Well, you don’t know about the detective! Ha! See, I knew I’d think of something. Ok, so, the detective. His name is Theo Dumas and he’s got a reputation as a very effective law enforcement officer. However, his good name has come under some heavy scrutiny as of late, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s very good at what he does. When a dead body turns up in a very unusual situation it’s apparent that Theo is the only guy capable of handling it, and handle he does. The story is full of things that will make you go, “…what?!”, but the final page will really leave your brain spinning.
Prior to this comic, the work of Tomm Coker’s I was most familiar with was the Wolverine issue of 5 Ronin that he did for Marvel. (I feel like that’s a devastatingly underrated mini-series.) Coker’s style is profoundly sophisticated. He captures small details beautifully, and his line-work is flawless. There are just so many fantastic dynamics in his panels, and then Rus Wooton adds colors that really make them pop. One scene might have some really deep, dark shadows, and then the next is bright and full of golden light. It really helps you stay entranced with story. I found myself just staring, captivated, at the pages, excited and even a little bewildered, but in the best way.
It almost feels like Hickman found an opportunity to use the occult element in order to teach readers about the structure of our banking institutions, and how dangerously ingrained into our politics they are. Actually… I think I said that wrong. I feel like I learned that it’s the money that begat the politics. The money, the greed and power-lust, came first. It didn’t implicate itself later, it birthed the entire idea of hierarchy rule. It’s almost as if the conspiracy ideas exist to intrigue you so that Hickman can get his real, more logical ideas across when you don’t even realize it.
Whatever the allure may be, The Black Monday Murders certainly captures your attention. For me, this first issue is a contender for my favorite #1 of the year so far. When you head down to your local comic shop, make sure to pick up a copy for yourself, or click the Comixology link at the top of the page to get it digitally.
Music Pairing –
With the dark, occult themes of the story, you have to jam some ambient black metal while you read this. It’s the most appropriate. My recommendation is Wolves In The Throne Room. Their first album “Diadem of 12 Stars “, was recently reissued and makes an excellent accompaniment to this book.