The Black Monday Murders #1

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.

Wow. It’s a rare and wonderful thing when a comic can make you say that.

This dark tale combines all the best elements of a paranoid conspiracy tale: secret societies, ancient gods, the crushing of the masses, money, power…and blood. Lots and lots of blood.

The art here is excellent; the characters, drenched in shadow, seem as inaccessible as the emerald towers from which they run the world. Despite its modern setting, the visuals could just as easily describe the 1980’s, or some other era of greed. The writing says much, without revealing anything. Even the calm panels are decidedly anxious. I’m fascinated by the mythology the creators have cooked up. You never know what might happen next, and the only sure thing is doom for everyone involved.

Can I gush a little more? This tale is timely, in our fraught era: just out of the Great Recession, and yet still slave to the markets, a businessman for president, conspiracy theories rampant, international tension hovering like a dark cloud over everything. Black Monday offers an explanation for it all, confirming our deepest suspicions and darkest fears: Greed is not only Good – it is God. There is a cabal ruling the market, one which balances its books in the most final way imaginable. None of us are safe; all of us are prey to its “adjustments”. This comic supplements the story with clever line items, corporate meeting minutes, stark diary entries. Never has a mainstream comic made global conspiracy so entertaining – or Alan Moore-esque.

Quibbles: Like all Image Comics, Black Monday suffers from its verbosity. There were times when I lost the thread of what the characters were saying, or even which character was which…the chronological jumping doesn’t help. I didn’t get a chance to meet the main character in any meaningful way, and I felt like the story could have focused on him more – is he merely a foil, or does his backstory intertwine here?

My biggest fear is that this comic, for all its promise, will fumble in the last inning. Here’s hoping it stays strong. This is one of the best, timeliest volumes to come out in a long time.

Final Verdict: 4 out of 5.

The Black Monday Murders Vol. 1 can be found at Image Comics

Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.

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