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Black Monday Murders vol 2: The Scales s/c

Black Monday Murders vol 2: The Scales s/c Black Monday Murders vol 2: The Scales s/c Black Monday Murders vol 2: The Scales s/c Black Monday Murders vol 2: The Scales s/c Black Monday Murders vol 2: The Scales s/c Black Monday Murders vol 2: The Scales s/c Black Monday Murders vol 2: The Scales s/c

Black Monday Murders vol 2: The Scales s/c back

Jonathan Hickman & Tomm Coker


Page 45 Review by Stephen

"They Will Devour Us Whole."

Do you know the definition of 'dominion'?

"Sovereignty; control: God's eternal dominion over man."

There have been many gods, but man is fickle and man forgets.

What happens when man forgets is that gods lose their power. But the one true God who has ensured that He will never lose His dominion over man is called Mammon; for Mammon has forged money, so that we will remain forever in His thrall.

In our substantial review of BLACK MONDAY MURDERS VOL 1, so remarkable in its prescience, design and complexity that we made it Page 45 Comicbook Of The Month, I summarised the series glibly yet succinctly as a "big, fat-cat package of occult crime fiction exposing investment banking as a deal with the devil." You have already met the banking dynasties who have vied for their own power within this domain. Now you will meet the devil.

After multiple warnings and hours of earnest dissuasion Dr. Tyler Gaddis, professor of economics, is going to lead Detective Theodore Dumas to the Capitol of all western capital: the Federal Reserve.

The password is this: "We come to trade."

What they will discover underneath, hidden in the Abyss down a thousand stone steps, each laid one upon the other against only one wall, is akin to a court in session. Gaddis and Dumas are advised thus:

"The face of god is mighty and terrible. His appetite is eternal. His patience is not."

What Gaddis offers are Aramaic coins; what they both seek are answers. Detective Dumas wants to know who killed Daniel Rothschild of the Caina-Kankrin Investment Bank. Dr. Gaddis wants to know why his algorithms designed to predict a market crash and mitigate its impact on emerging blue-collar investors don't always work.

"It should have, but it didn't. I discovered inconsistencies. Events that fell out of predictable models."

Soon he will know why, and so will you, and it will all begin to make the most appalling sense.

Mammon's proclamations, translated from glyphs, are beautifully written with a stark, impassive eloquence and lettered by Rus Wooton for maximum, echoing chills as they emanate from a skull crowned with antlers.

Tomm Coker has exercised enormous restraint during all the conversational pieces in the boardrooms et al, furnishing them with an intensity born of minimal emotional tells until anger erupts and does so, therefore, with a startling impact. The shadows Coker casts are exquisite, while Michael Garland ensures that every page broods, sometimes breeds, and glows.

But now that we've gone subterranean, both line and colour artists take full advantage of the opportunity to be gruesome, not with gore, but with that which truly chills. The descent - the steps leading down into darkness which I don't have for you here - is truly terrifying in that there is only one wall and in that the drops looks eternal. The design of the immaculately preserved courtroom / library / throne is gloriously gothic in its architectural sense, while its occupants meet every requirement in its other. In particular, I loved the boutonnière, linen jacket and waistcoat worn by ram-skulled Mammon. and the finery of his silent, spider-masked second, holding the antlered skull aloft by its segmented spine.

"Eternity has two seasons. Day and night. Wake and slumber.
"When I wake, I hunger, and when I hunger, I consume.
"This indulgence upsets the carefully cultivated balance that my schools maintain in this world. The market reacts as I eat - the scales becoming unbalanced - and a correction must be achieved.
"So man pays until my hunger subsides."

Please don't think that's the secret. The secrets lie in the schools.

Please read our review of BLACK MONDAY MURDERS VOL 1 in which I write about the feuding dynasties and their role in our many misfortunes; about the elegance of the art and the hastily photocopied dossier pages which pepper each chapter inviting you to join their dots and do your own detective work within this detective horror fiction. Otherwise I'll have to repeat myself.

But the two other main threads which weave their way so tightly together here are the wholly unexpected histories of Daniel Rothschild and his former private bodyguard turned Caina-Kankrin security chief... and the return from exile of Daniel Rothschild's sister Grigoria, initially recalled to take his seat, but now moving swiftly to exact her revenge on her Daniel's murderer and savage control over Caina-Kankrin in doing so.

Ah, yes, the Rothschilds - now there's a family that truly consumes. Her inscrutable, white-haired femme familiar has quite the appetite too.

But the other seats in Caina-Kankrin will not let Ria wrestle control without resistance, especially Beatrix Bischoff:

"There are tremors in the Market, Ria. Mammon wakes."
"It sure feels that way, doesn't it? What are the words?"
""The sheep cry and scream - there are beasts in the field.""
"Yes. And I am one of them."

She surely is. I wonder what she was up to while in exile...?

Now, where did we come in?

Ah, yes, "dominion". If you're reading this in our illustrated blog, behold the "full" definition as presented with witty redactions. If you're reading this in the product page, you'll find it, seven down, to your right.