The Black Monday Murders #1 is a rich introduction to what promises to be another weird, intricate world from Jonathan Hickman.
If you’re untrained in the financial arts, the world of stocks, bonds, and power-suited day traders might seem totally opaque, like magic. In The Black Monday Murders, money is magic. In the first few pages, Hickman introduces us to Caina Investment Bank, a longstanding institution whose executives made a pact with occult powers in return for financial success. Interesting note: Caina is named in Dante’s Inferno as a city in Treachery, the ninth circle of Hell.
The Black Monday Murders #1 is an extra-long first issue, weighing in at 52 pages, and each page is jam-packed with information to introduce the characters and setting. The main players here are the executives of Caina Investment Bank, along with their families, and Theodore Dumas, an unconventional detective with his own understanding of the occult. Hickman’s dialogue does a lot of legwork here to develop characters and seed mysteries for the series at the same time. Dumas especially feels well-established after this first issue. His interaction with the other cops shows he has a reputation for uncanny, even suspicious intuition, a lone wolf attitude, and an aloofness toward his colleagues that gains him no love.
Hickman is known for packing his books with detailed infographics and extra content, and The Black Monday Murders #1 is no exception. Timelines depict the Caina executives’ family histories, diagrams show the cycle and responsibilities of the four executive positions, and Dumas’s complaint file details how his occult knowledge formed his reputation. Hickman’s infographics help build out the world without dumping all the information awkwardly into dialogue.
Tomm Coker is on art duty for The Black Monday Murders, and his work here is really solid. This story is more grounded than some of Hickman’s other works, like East of West or Manhattan Projects, so we don’t see any crazy sci-fi concepts. But Coker shines in the small details, with a lot of thought shown in character’s facial expressions and environmental touches. Given the occult subject, I’m sure we’ll see weirder, more arcane imagery, but the reserved, real-world aesthetic is perfect for this first issue before we dive deeper into the mysteries at Caina.
The Black Monday Murders #1 is a promising start to another series from Jonathan Hickman. I’ve been a big fan of his previous work, and this first issue offers the same combination of fascinating characters, a weird premise, and detailed infographics to flesh out the world and explore the lore.
- Promising, dark premise
- Great infographics
- Extra-long first issue