Rating: 4.5/5 – One of the Most Chilling Comics I’ve Ever Read.
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall
This is a series that was definitely flying under my radar until I picked up on review copies of the series to date and read issues #1 thru #3 (out Nov 11th) in a single sitting. This was a book that I figuratively could not put down. Since I was reading it on my computer screen let’s say I couldn’t look away…
ComixTribe describes this series as “…a visceral thriller in the vein of Se7en and Hannibal that answers the question ‘What if The Joker came to a Gotham WITHOUT Batman?’ ” Oxymoron’s raison d’être is to eliminate what he sees as contradictions in residents of Swanstown, like the Mayor who is publicly the face of law and order, but is really a corrupt official involved in a number of criminal dealings. Being an equal opportunity criminal psycho, he also goes after a crime-lord who secretly donates money to the orphanage where he grew up, among other charitable causes. Oxymoron kills those he sees as contradictory and tags them with small notes naming the contradiction that he saw as justification for their death.
So Oxymoron is compared to The Joker, and on the face of it, perhaps it’s an apt comparison, but he seems to be very calculated and less randomly crazy than the Joker. Oxymoron has his shtick tied to his name so perhaps is more of a combination between The Joker and Riddler. It’s true that there is no Batman to face off with him, in fact no costumed heroes of any kind. In this story The Oxymoron has to contend with Detective Mary Clark, and he’s really putting her through a wringer, but I have a feeling she’ll be giving as good as she gets by series end.
Writers John Lees (And Then Emily Was Gone) and Tyler James (The Red Ten) are telling a really nicely crafted story here. Lots of pieces all building on one another and layers of information building on one another issue after issue. There doesn’t appear to be a lot of throwaway information. Facts presented end up mattering to the narrative sooner or later, which worked really nicely for me. The art, by Alex Cormack, was solid, but nothing that blew me away. Personal taste, I know, but the one thing that held this back from being a 5/5 for me.
I really loved the fact that ComixTribe has a recap page at the beginning of issues #2 and 3 to bring readers back up to speed on ‘what has gone before’. As I was reading this issue it was moving along just fine but it really felt like a dip in the action compared to the 1st two issues of the series, which is not unheard of for the penultimate issue of a four issue series. Then, about 2/3rds of the way into the issue it starts to build and the action continued to escalate throughout the remainder of the issue with some really startling twists ending with one of the most chilling scenes I’ve ever read in a comic. These guys really hit me in the gut here and I’m hooked. I’m buying physical copies of the series and am looking forward to seeing how they’re going to wrap this one up!
Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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