This week sees the return of the fascinating but opaque Black Monday Murders that has Johnathan Hickman imagine a world in which the Illuminati do exist and have done for centuries, literally feeding off the world to maintain both their power and their longevity, like some kind of economic, power hungry vampires. All the while, as we learnt last issue, their god Mammon is all too real and while he doesn’t make an appearance in this issue, there is enough horror and fear aplenty as Grigoria ‘Ria’ Rothschild from the House of Caina and Victor Eresko, from the House of Kankrin, square off in a deadly duel of supernatural proportions, as Ria seek to fulfil her vendetta against Eresko for killing her brother. This is certainly an issue that resolves some unfinished business but also throws up further tantalising riddles too.
The horror is matched only by the opulence that these long-living monsters surround themselves with; trappings of the wealth they have accumulated at the cost of many, many broken lives. And we begin to see what price a man can be bought for. Or can he? As Detective Dumas, our everyman figure in this heady world of big finance and even bigger Machiavellian plans, seems to show his hand he is either a man willing to throw it all away for a quick buck, or maybe thinks he can walk into the spider’s web and survive. From everything we’ve witnessed over the past seven issues (has to really only been seven issues?) I believe Dumas’s integrity will see him maintain his moral and ethical compass. I’m rooting for him! Don’t let me down, Hickman.
It’s certainly an intriguing issue that throws up one last twist at the end and another layer of mystery to this already complex comic.
Tomm Coker’s art seem more defined than in previous issues as his style seems to develop more and more, but part of this clarity can also be put down to the subtle colouring of Michael Garland. When looking at this series, one may recognise that colour can seem wanting, but that has only added to crime-noir feel that seeps through a book that started of as a murder mystery, but very quickly became a story on a global and other-dimensional scale. Here we have splashes of pinky-red in the aforementioned showdown between Eresko and Ria, for rather her familiar, the alabaster assassin and Rothschild familiar, Abigail. When Dumas enters the spider’s lair, we are met with sandy colours replicating the gold, gaudy furnishings. It would seem that The Rothschilds had the same interior designer Trump used throughout the 80’s. A blind one, it would seem.
It’s a book that will no doubt have you returning to the previous issues as I intend to do, and a great return from one of my favourite books of last year. A ‘whodunnit’ on a scale that Detective Dumas could never have dreamt; with a seemingly insurmountable foe in the shape of the banking elite of the globe. An elite who are empowered by supernatural, immortal forces beyond our ken. All the while, I can’t help feeling Hickman, in his multilayered plot, is also passing judgement on these superrich one percenters who can indeed feel as though they sit in their ivory and gold towers looking down upon us all like gods. Or monsters.
The Black Monday Murders #8 released this Wednesday, the 14th of February 2018 from Image Comics.