I often find myself in search for something new to read. This isn’t a problem in the 21st century when our whims can be catered to quickly and with little cost or effort. This should mean finding a fresh and interesting comic would be easier than ever; yet that tends to not be the case. Publishing something that is niche or unfamiliar is not a step most companies want to take too often; it could lead to loss of revenue and loss of materials that they might have been used going with something more traditional. Not every comic can be “The Walking Dead” after all. So we shuffle the stacks looking for the next great comic.
Is “John Flood” the miniseries that can survive past a six comic run? I hope so.
If you listened to this week’s podcast, you’ll know Grant is practically gushing over this little gem. If you didn’t listen, stop reading this and listen to it now, you will be better off for it! Grant hits on the high points, but what I find truly incredible about this comic isn’t any of the individual parts; It is how those parts come together to make a story that transcends the medium into something much for imaginative and engaging.
The first page introduces us to the character of John Flood. He is in a holding cell seemingly being interrogated by what we assume to be a cop. I say assume, because we only are allowed to glimpse him as John Flood sees him: in a hazy, warped manner in which John spends all his time. You see, John doesn’t spend 1/3 of his life doing what you and I do… he doesn’t sleep. Reality, to him, seems to be a perpetual fugue state, one where he is not quite asleep and not fully awake. This would seem to be a drawback to most human, driving them insane; but we learn this state of being has its advantages.
We are introduced to the protagonist of the story on the next page. He is man named Alexander Berry, who we are led to believe has killed someone. He may not even have killed this person entirely in self-defense, either. He was found not guilty, but he doesn’t see himself as innocent. He is offered a job by an associate of Flood; to take care of something that she cannot. He takes the bait, and is led to John Floods enigmatic compound where the job is lain bare. John Flood can see things the rest of us can’t. He can see patterns in the “empty spaces.” He can almost predict events with this information. This is a kind of prescience bordering on fortune telling. He uses this gift to help solve crimes, but there is one he is working on that is tough. There is a mass murder on the loose and he needs someone to bring this person down. John is hoping that person is Alexander.
I cannot state with greater hyperbole just how good Justin Jordan’s writing is. The story is mysterious and the dialog engrossing. The characters are well thought out and believable despite the crazy premise. We see how eclectic a man can be without sleep; how he will find things to do to occupy his time. The reader is simultaneously amazed and disturbed at the same time.
The art by Jorge Coelho is moody and very apropos to the tone of the comic. This art style helps bridge the gap between the altered reality which John Flood sees the world, and that which the other characters see the world. Tamra Bonvillian uses this this artistic dichotomy to its full effect: mixing warm and light tones, which indicate John Floods fugue state, with the cooler yet more colorful world of reality. This is truly a match made in heaven.
If it sounds like I’m gushing like Grant… well I am. I waited to write this review in hopes that in subsequent readings I would see short comings I didn’t see before. I haven’t. I will buy all six of the comics written for this story arc and I hope it is successful enough that we can get more. Let’s send BOOM! a message that we want more of this top notch story telling by buying this book.