The Black Monday Murders Vol.1
Writer: Jonathon Hickman
Artist: Tomm Coker
Colorist: Michael Garland
Letterer: Rus Wooton
A review by Gregory Brothers
Rumors and urban legends have always persisted that there is a secret cabal that runs everything in the world. Over the years comics have used these urban legends to create a variety of stories that involve shadowy figures manipulating the world in a way that fits their needs.
In Black Monday Murders, Jonathon Hickman takes the idea of the shadowy figures trying to rule the world in secret and adds in the manipulation of the world financial markets. We are introduced to the leaders of the group called Caina Investment Bank, who make all the major choices when it comes to the financials of the world. Within the group are families that have rotated their power between four pillars within the group. The families have been passing the power within the families since 1929, and at times, have tried to pull power from each other at any cost necessary. After years of truces and uneasy agreements an unexpected murder has threatened to destroy the alliance and create worldwide disasters.
One thing that can never been said about Jonathon Hickman is that he doesn’t know how to do some major world building, and The Black Monday Murders is no exception. Volume 1 is filled with charts, lists, files, and partial redacted interviews that give the reader an open look at not only of what is going on in the panels but also what happens off panel to move the story forward.
Besides the extensive lists and charts Hickman does an excellent of actually building up the characters and telling their story. Being a murder mystery, Black Monday Murders does not just focus on the families and their secret dealings of the world. We are also introduced to Detective Theodore Dumas, who has been tasked to investigate the mysterious murder and all the players that are involved. Dumas of course has his own secrets and beliefs that get touched on briefly and make him an excellent addition to the overall story that is being told here.
Although Hickman tends to go into great details throughout The Black Monday Murders it never feels as if it is too much information. The way that Hickman breaks down the information in ways other than just the panels, and includes the use of documents and transcripts, keeps the story from getting stale and allows the readers eyes to rest and reset rather than become overwhelmed. Of course when a family has been ruling behind the scenes for as long as they have it makes sense that they have to have more going for them than just cunning business sense and good luck. We find out early on that there is more to it and indeed, there is some supernatural players and elements involved that have helped keep this status quo in place.
The art in The Black Monday Murders feels more than appropriate. The use of shadows and grittiness through adds to the mystery as the shadowy families meet behind closed doors. On the other hand, the meeting between the detectives at the station is not only much lighter but look so realistic that it feels like it was a picture that was taken and then colored.
Buy it! The Black Monday Murders Vol 1 is a long winding story that as times causes you to feel overwhelmed by the amount of information that is being presented to you, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Hickman is at his best when he can tell stories that are heavy and complicated and we get both of those here. Besides the long drawn out story, The Black Monday Murders Volume 1 ends in a way that gives the reader the satisfaction of knowing the major players but also ending with many questions answered but many more set into motion. Reading Volume 1 will give people a perfect jumping on point if they were looking to get into this series, or if they are planning on waiting for Volume 2 to come out at a later date.