Finding a Balance in The Black Monday Murders 6

by Ryan Desaulniers

Black Monday Murders 6

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

If you know Jonathan Hickman’s past work, you know he can get…complicated. Reading The Black Monday Murders 1-5 to catch up for last month’s full conversation proved a deep dive into an intricate world full of ancient conspiracy theories, old money, the occult, convoluted machinations, epistolary inserts, and shadow-soaked boardroom conversations. This issue returns to show some of the fallout of the recent occurrences and again displays Hickman and artist Tomm Coker’s tightrope walk approach to action, exposition, and reaction.

Last issue ended with an interesting collusion between Grigoria Rothschild and security man Thomas Dane to find the whereabouts of Wynn Ackerman, but hopefully you haven’t been holding your breath to see how Dane is doing — we never see him this issue. Instead, the issue splits between 1) some volatile bonding time between Beatrix Bischoff and Ria at a firing range wherein we discover that only silver bullets can really do fatal damage to the Caina crew thanks to their dark pact and that Beatrix’s bark is about as threatening as her formidable bite and 2) Detective Theodore Dumas and Professor Tyler Gaddis embark on a pilgrimage of sorts from NYC to DC to, supposedly, get answers from the mouth of the best, Mammon, at the Federal Reserve.

While over half of the issue is dedicated to two people in direct address with each other, my assertion stands that Coker’s art sells this dialogue and makes it not only palatable, but visually beautiful. Hickman’s words with Coker’s pencils, inks, and colors made a scene about a professor and a detective stuck in a traffic jam entertaining and characterful. The final scene, though, is the absolute crown jewel of this issue:

This beat features the best of both Coker and Hickman. It features the two most visually striking characters in the title- the coolly horrifying Abby and the worldly, heavy disdain of Viktor Eresko, both of which Coker consistently draws with aplomb — interacting in a set piece revolving around the fascinating macabre mechanisms of scales and blood which leak out of Hickman’s brain. Though we may not know exactly what’s going on here, I trust that Hickman does, and the creative team wisely again balances the issue out by having these last six pages play without dialogue to counterpoint the wordiness of the preceding scenes and heighten the horror. While I would understand if other people may be turned off by a title which needs a dramatic personae to be enjoyed, The Black Monday Murders sits high at the top of my pull list.

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?

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