The Black Monday Murders, Vol. 1: All Hail, God Mammon

The Black Monday Murders, Vol. 1: All Hail, God Mammon

All Hail God Money!From Jonathan Hickman (East of West, Secret Wars, Avengers) and Tomm Coker (Undying Love) comes a new crypto-noir series about the power of dirty, filthy money... and exactly what kind of people you can buy with it. The Black Monday Murders, Volume 1: All Hail, God Mammon is classic occultism where the various schools of magic are actually clandestine ba...

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Title:The Black Monday Murders, Vol. 1: All Hail, God Mammon
Author:Jonathan Hickman
Rating:
ISBN:1534300279
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:240 pages

The Black Monday Murders, Vol. 1: All Hail, God Mammon Reviews

  • Alex
    Feb 25, 2017

    Wow. This book was AMAZING! It's checking off all the right boxes for me with what I look for in a great story. Compelling writing. Proper pacing through dialogue and illustration. Mystery and intrigue, wrapped in a modern style of noir. Murder. The occult. A secret organization that controls the fate of our everyday lives. This was such a pleasure to read.

    What's unique about this series is that Jonathan Hickman includes supplementary prose material, in-story chat transcripts, charts, and other

    Wow. This book was AMAZING! It's checking off all the right boxes for me with what I look for in a great story. Compelling writing. Proper pacing through dialogue and illustration. Mystery and intrigue, wrapped in a modern style of noir. Murder. The occult. A secret organization that controls the fate of our everyday lives. This was such a pleasure to read.

    What's unique about this series is that Jonathan Hickman includes supplementary prose material, in-story chat transcripts, charts, and other non-comicbooky storytelling devices. So each chapter is literally twice the length of a traditional comic book issue. Hickman excels at providing unique voices to each character. There were just so many gripping and suspenseful moments that as soon as I chewed through them, I knew this book was going to deserve a perfect rating. And that's all just about the writing.

    Tomm Coker? I've been reading comics for quite some time now and this gentleman has jumped into the spotlight seemingly from out of nowhere. His style is very fitting for this crime series. It's gritty with sketchy pencils, yet the characters look so photo-realistic. As with any good noir, his use of shadows and darker tones is flawless. This might actually sound quite odd, but I might have a crush on one of the characters.

    is gorgeously drawn and looks ridiculously photo-realistic. I'd find it astounding if she's an original character design and not based on a real person. Yeah, weird.

    I'm not sure how much clout Coker has regarding Hickman's script, but as mentioned earlier, the way in which both Hickman and Coker present The Black Monday Murders is incredibly well-constructed. Without spoiling anything, there is a certain favorite page of mine in which a stack of static horizontal panels fills the entire page. Each panel would have a very subtle change in action, but what the page conveys carries so much more weight than what is ostensibly being presented.

    Amazing book. It's a shame there will be what I'm guessing only 2 more volumes, but I am very much looking forward to inhaling them.

  • Sam Quixote
    Nov 30, 2016

    “In God We Trust” is printed on US banknotes – yeah, the god of money, Mammon! The filthy lucre is America’s true religion and its high priests preside on Wall Street. Assigned to investigate the horrific ritual murder of a banker, Noo Yawk Detective (and secret voodoo practitioner) Theo Dumas uncovers the hidden world of finance where human sacrifice, pagan practices and occult magic covertly keep the markets going and the top banks wealthy!

    Jonathan Hickman and Tomm Coker’s The Black Monday Mu

    “In God We Trust” is printed on US banknotes – yeah, the god of money, Mammon! The filthy lucre is America’s true religion and its high priests preside on Wall Street. Assigned to investigate the horrific ritual murder of a banker, Noo Yawk Detective (and secret voodoo practitioner) Theo Dumas uncovers the hidden world of finance where human sacrifice, pagan practices and occult magic covertly keep the markets going and the top banks wealthy!

    Jonathan Hickman and Tomm Coker’s The Black Monday Murders is a mixed bag. The concept of ruling banking families controlling money by worshipping an ancient bloodthirsty god is an unusual and interesting one but this first volume suffers from too much table-setting and a vague, weak opening story.

    We spend a lot of time meeting the main players like the rich families, their strange roles and the growing tension between them, as well as Dumas, the voodoo detective. However, as always with Hickman, he doesn’t know how to write characters readers can care about – they come off like robots or ideas masquerading as characters on the page.

    We jump around in time and see what really happened behind the scenes of the 1929 stock market crash, the temple to Mammon underneath the Berlin Wall in the 1980s, and the families’ internal politics throughout the 20th century – but what’s the story (morning glory)? I suppose it’s the present-day murder investigation and the families’ power-plays but these both advance very slowly – most of this volume is just set-up.

    Like all of Hickman’s books, this one is stylishly designed with swish-looking symbols and an aesthetic that appears to be inspired by David Fincher’s movie Se7en – fitting given the macabre and violent subject matter. However there’s also a lot of superfluous extras thrown in to pad the page-count like lists of characters, family trees, keys to symbols and their meaning, none of which I cared about or enhanced the book for me – and does every issue really need a contents page like a book!? How pretentious!

    You couldn’t call him unambitious or lacking in scope or vision but Hickman’s comics are usually only superficially sophisticated. Some of his format experiments are successful though, like the prose-only sections. The interview transcripts, emails and diary entries are surprisingly more entertaining that the comics sections though they compound the pacing problems and lack of a focused narrative. Tomm Coker’s realistic, gloomy art looks a bit like Sean Phillips’ noir style which is definitely a plus and the comic looks great but the visuals don’t really have much of a wow factor to stand out.

    The Black Monday Murders isn’t the easiest read nor is it especially gripping though it is different and its subject matter is intriguing. Patient readers willing to indulge Hickman’s overcomplicated storytelling approach might enjoy it, though, without a strong narrative or compelling characters you can become invested in, it’s definitely not for everyone and feels more like a case of style over substance.

  • Kyle
    Feb 06, 2017

    Actual rating: 3.5

    A truly cinematic work; the entire volume could easily transition into the television or film mediums. While I won't spend any time trying to explain the purposefully convoluted and complex plot, I will say that I lapped up every bit of this book. It's brimming with a sinister flare throughout, with a creeping sort of dread that permeates each page.

    The amount of information to ingest, and the flurry of characters and whiplash time jumps can be irksome, though. I had difficulty

    Actual rating: 3.5

    A truly cinematic work; the entire volume could easily transition into the television or film mediums. While I won't spend any time trying to explain the purposefully convoluted and complex plot, I will say that I lapped up every bit of this book. It's brimming with a sinister flare throughout, with a creeping sort of dread that permeates each page.

    The amount of information to ingest, and the flurry of characters and whiplash time jumps can be irksome, though. I had difficulty keeping track of all the names and characters. Even when much of the info is explicitly explained, it still doesn't make it any easier to fully comprehend, because this is a tricky, meandering piece of work. It should be said, too, that this felt like more of a prologue to the volumes/issues to come. We're given much of the build-up to subsequent (potentially more entertaining) events. Not to say that this volume felt in any way "boring", as some have said. I soaked up every bit of the ritualistic puzzle my brain could handle.

    All that aside, and even with the trouble of not understanding thoroughly the entire storyline, I couldn't help but be intrigued. The neo-noir setting meshed well with the eerie tones presented, and bolstered more by writing that felt at once both coolly-distant and slithering (which I'm using as a verb here to indicate how coiled, guarded, but all the same intimidating, much like a rattlesnake). The artwork is what I expected to find with a plot such as this, but the coloring is what made it appear so, again, cinematic: lots of black and white, shades of blues, stark reds and browns and gray... dark tones that in another's hands could've been muddied, but here stand clean with purpose. (If you've ever seen the movie

    , you'll have a general idea of what I mean).

    Initially, I was worried

    would lose my interest, because who really wants to read about wealthy investment bankers controlling cash flow? But introduce to that the occult and conspiracies, demonic familiars, ancient languages, warped theology and a police procedural... and I'm hooked! A part of me felt like I was reading a serialized episode of

    , and that made me love it even more. It's bleak, bloody, and darker than black, and I'm ready for more!

  • Steven Carver
    Jan 02, 2017

    (This review is written after reading The Black Monday Murders, issues 1-4, to be collected in volume 1.)

    "All Hail God Mammon" is written on the back cover of each chapter, telegraphing clearly where this book lies in Hickman's mind. The Black Monday Murders is a story about the rich financial tycoons of the world, people often referenced in conspiracy theories, but shown to be involved in an ancient and mysterious black magic, connecting the wealthy and granting immense power.

    Over and over aga

    (This review is written after reading The Black Monday Murders, issues 1-4, to be collected in volume 1.)

    "All Hail God Mammon" is written on the back cover of each chapter, telegraphing clearly where this book lies in Hickman's mind. The Black Monday Murders is a story about the rich financial tycoons of the world, people often referenced in conspiracy theories, but shown to be involved in an ancient and mysterious black magic, connecting the wealthy and granting immense power.

    Over and over again, Hickman lets you know that these financiers are playing by different rules, above the law and above morals. Wealth begets wealth, but only if you are willing to pay the price, usually someone else's head.

    I hesitate to write much about this opening volume, partly because I find this entry in Hickman's canon to be his most difficult, therefore least suitable for people unfamiliar with his previous work. However, you are dead set on starting with this one for whatever reason, know that it's very dense and intentionally convoluted and impenetrable. Some of his earlier works are a better entry point to his indulgent style, such as his Fantastic Four series, or

    ., and even that series is hard to grasp for the wild satire.

    In any case, if you have read The Manhattan Projects and East of West, this series fits in quite well with themes of indulgence and power. If The Manhattan Projects is about what happens when science is taken too far, and East of West is about what happens when religion is taken to the extreme, then The Black Monday Murders is about what happens when wealth becomes religion (both literally and metaphorically).

    The plot of the book is centered around the murder of Daniel Rothschild, of the famously wealthy Rothschild family, and the police investigation of his death. The plot takes the passenger seat to a wide array of introductory material in the form of experimental prose and transcript pages, flashbacks to scenes that truly don't make much sense at this time, and very confusing diagrams and arcane symbols. For anyone that eats up worldbuilding material, this book will grab you and keep teasing you with little worldbuilding tidbits.

    Tonally, this book is very bleak and soaked with evil waiting around every corner. Some of the most chilling scenes I've seen in a comic book are in this series, particularly in chapter 3.

    The heavy lifting for the tone is actually on the shoulders of Tomm Coker, the artist of this series. His pages are drenched in dark colors and inky blacks, with sharp, jagged lines speaking volumes about the world at hand. His lines are also easy to read, a key element in difficult Hickman plots.

    As for flaws in this series, they are flaws of Hickman's writing across the board. His characters aren't necessarily likable or interesting for any reason beyond their contribution to the worldbuilding or the overarching commentary Hickman is trying to make. He spends more time building complicated world structures to keep attentive readers hanging for years at a time than he does coherent plotting. However, in my opinion, Hickman transforms these flaws into stylistic vacancies, forcing the reader to focus on what he excels at: visual design, deep world building, and philosophical musings through dialogue. It's the reason he's my favorite comics author today.

  • Craig
    Jan 28, 2017

    I really enjoyed this. It may not be the most original idea in the world, namely that the world's big banks and richest families all got that way through manipulating black (and blood) magic, but Hickman presents it in such a way that it's all very mysterious and intriguing and I want to know what happens next. I love the graphic design elements that creep in Hickman's Pronea books and this one is no different, especially the magic symbols which seem to belong to a written language that predates

    I really enjoyed this. It may not be the most original idea in the world, namely that the world's big banks and richest families all got that way through manipulating black (and blood) magic, but Hickman presents it in such a way that it's all very mysterious and intriguing and I want to know what happens next. I love the graphic design elements that creep in Hickman's Pronea books and this one is no different, especially the magic symbols which seem to belong to a written language that predates human civilization (and are the only thing that one character--a vampire?--ever speaks). The artwork is really good and just the right amount of distancing and chilly to support this story. There's a murder investigation (lead by a detective with some basic skills in voudou) and infighting between the houses and flashbacks and journal entries and it all adds up to a comic that's hooked itself in deep. Looking forward to volume 2...

  • Chauncey Bird
    Feb 08, 2017

    This deep dark story is fast-paced and thick on plot. Crime, detectives, and horrific super-natural rip tides come together to make a complex story that is every bit as entertaining as it is chilling. The attention to detail is superb. There is room for some existentialism and nihilism that the author does not capitalize on, but perhaps that is intentionally left to the reader.

  • Donovan
    Jan 29, 2017

    Dreadfully boring. I feel like Hickman is doing a Brubaker Fatale impression. But rather than death cults and lovers it's investment bankers. Whoever said "you had me at investment bankers"? I just couldn't connect with the story or any of this sprawling cast.

  • Kenny
    Jan 31, 2017

    Occult conspiracies meets Wall Street with a crime noir buzz. Exquisite

  • C. Derick
    Feb 21, 2017

    Jonathan Hickman corpus is a very mixed bag, and this occult conspiracy comic about banking is highly stylistic, plotted, and interesting. The slow unveiling of the conspiracy and mythology is fascinating, the premise is solid, and the multi-textuality really works here in a way I have rarely seen since The Watchmen. The plot may be too slow for many, and the mythology too highly complicated--think comics like Fatale or prestige television shows like True Detective and/or Carnivale. The art dire

    Jonathan Hickman corpus is a very mixed bag, and this occult conspiracy comic about banking is highly stylistic, plotted, and interesting. The slow unveiling of the conspiracy and mythology is fascinating, the premise is solid, and the multi-textuality really works here in a way I have rarely seen since The Watchmen. The plot may be too slow for many, and the mythology too highly complicated--think comics like Fatale or prestige television shows like True Detective and/or Carnivale. The art direction and symbolism is highly stylish and reminds one of both True Detective's paranoia and the slip cutting from the rival of neonoir in the late 1990s.

    While the plot and conspiracy are arc and overcomplicated, the symbolism behind human sacrifice for Mammon is perhaps too on the nose. The character development is highly fascinating as is the variety of unsympathetic characters. Indeed, the number of factions and characters that exist in this comic can be Byzantine in a way that almost reminds on of G.R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire. It can give a reader some serious whiplash.

    Those flaws aside, the richness of the world, the noir artwork of Tomm Coker, and the fact that the concept is so highly strange for the comic book genre, it does seem like a work of love. I am willing to give the slow progression a chance.

  • Chris Thompson
    Feb 22, 2017

    In many ways different from Hickman's action-packed East of West, but in many ways similar in its fantasy revisionist history of the United States. The subject this time around is the financial institutions of America, from the Great Depression (and earlier) to now. Essentially sacrifices are made, literally, in the name of money, with the God Mammon taking its share in the form of stock market crashes and deaths of key people.

    The story is peopled with lots of characters, though none with the ch

    In many ways different from Hickman's action-packed East of West, but in many ways similar in its fantasy revisionist history of the United States. The subject this time around is the financial institutions of America, from the Great Depression (and earlier) to now. Essentially sacrifices are made, literally, in the name of money, with the God Mammon taking its share in the form of stock market crashes and deaths of key people.

    The story is peopled with lots of characters, though none with the charisma of those in East of West, and the plot is filled with tons of details, making this as dense and hard to follow as East of West can get. Deep into the first issue, the story unfolds in entertaining fashion and continues on that way, growing better and better as it gathers steam. This is an allegory for the predatory, god-like nature of our financial institutions. Obvious as the allegory is, it's an enthralling read.