Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Tomm Coker
Colors by Michael Garland
Letters by Rus Wooten
The Black Monday Murders is ostensibly about the group of nefarious villains that control global financial dealings, and by extension, the world itself. It feels like the spiritual successor to The Nightly News, mixed with a bit of Hickman's Secret Warriors and S.H.I.E.L.D. work for Marvel Comics. If you enjoyed either of those series, I can tell you right off the bat you are going to love this tome, which starts at 52 pages for $4.99.
It has all of what makes Hickman unique-- plenty of full pages of transcripts from various secret meetings, a cabal of individuals with their own goals working together, and against each other at the same time, the frequent use of circles as a symbol, infographics, the use of whitespace, etc. Basically, if you were to meld all of Hickman's works into a single entity, it would probably be a lot like this book.
So, then, is it any good? Yes. Yes it is. Hickman has a way of making something that could be very dry in the hands of another author sound exciting. Much of the dialogue is economic-babble, mixed with a dash of the occult and Hickman's trademark cynical wit. I'll fully admit that I didn't understand a lot of what they were talking about, but I didn't care because I knew what they were actually talking about, if that makes sense.
As is typical for a Hickman book, there are many, many characters thrown at the reader right out of the gate, including several generations of the central cabal. It doesn't get too confusing, thanks to the aforementioned infographics and family trees, though. It looks like the main characters will be opposed by a detective with an affinity for the occult, giving the whole thing a hint of procedural.
The art is provided by Tomm Coker, who is not someone I was familiar before reading this, but his work is perfect for the tone of the series. It's dark, moody and atmospheric. Characters are frequently bathed in heavy shadows, and thick, black lines are frequently employed. The best books are the ones where the art and the tone are in sync (unless their difference is used for juxtaposition) and that is the case here.
To go along with that, the whole book has an old, aged feel to it. The pages that are mostly documents look like they've been photocopied multiple times, and a good portion of the pages have a grainy feel to them, like an old movie.
I'll be honest, Hickman is one of my favorite writers, so it might be possible that I'm slightly biased. That being said, I do think The Black Monday Murders is one of the best debuts in some time. I'm very interested in the casual occult-infused murder-mystery set against a conspiracy backdrop dating back centuries. The whole art team is wonderful, and this was just an enjoyable experience all around.