New York City Gallows - issue 1
Script: Ben Cook
Art: Robert Ahmad
Letters: DC Hopkins
Cover: Charlie Gillespie
Logo/Cover Assembly: Jim Kersey
Available on Gum Road - £4 (Digital) £5 (Physical)
36 pages - Full Colour.
The Story - ‘Corruption and organised crime is at an all time high, eating away at what's left of the Big Rotten Apple, and Detective Cassie Delaney has just uncovered the truth.
Cass and her partner Det. Eric Keene are hot on the trail of New York's illusive and savage vigilante, "The Hangman", but Cass is about to learn that some leads shouldn't be followed as she finds herself at the Hangman's mercy.’
This is one of the titles that are available as part of the Comichaus Digital Comics subscription.
The Review - Might be a good time to talk straightaway about the cover (by artist Charlie Gillespie) to this book. It looks and brands itself like a paperback cover with the story hinted at and the main characters of issue one on show. It looks great and is the sort of cover that shows a heavy Detective/Horror street level vibe and would make me reach out for it in a comic shop (remember those?) It does not however match the art inside. The interiors by Robert Ahmad are solidly in the Michael Avon Oeming range of cartooning. As a reader I object to neither style, in fact quite the opposite but thought that it was worthy of a mention.
The antagonist follows that design style that we saw on DC Comics/Archie Comics and Dark Circle’s long-standing Hangman character as well as the seventies Werewolf By Night Hangman villain. There’s nothing wrong with that and the actual hanging we see in the first issue is used to a nice page turn shock effect.
The writing flows through the comic and takes some time in building the characters. They do fall into cliche slightly - driven Detective, Family man partner, Captain who chews you out for results, corrupt narcotics officer, fat mob boss and so on. This can be used as shorthand in a story like this and I honestly found it familiar rather than annoying. I’m often critical of first issues, especially recently, that they lack action and spend time needlessly in exposition - none of this here! By the time that you hit page six we’ve already seen a few bucketloads of blood and some crafty shotgun action.
The investigation to catch the Hangman reads well although is seemingly solved with a simplicity that almost comes out of the blue and that leads me to believe there is something else going on that we are yet to see. I’m already keeping my eye on the cast to see who will get revealed as this vigilante. The issue ends on a violent cliff-hanger that has me wanting to read issue two as soon as possible.
I haven’t seen Robert Ahmad’s art for over a year at this point and he is improving in leaps and bounds. There is a genuine comparison to be made here with the aforementioned Oeming as well as artists like J Bone or even Tim Sale. He is mastering some great facial acting and even though it has a cartoony aspect the violence manages to be surprising and realistically brutal. I am however curious about some of the lighting effects in the colouring they seem to be showing a glow effect a lot, especially when Cass is in a panel. I’m curious as to whether this is part of some future storytelling twist?
You can find out more about the writer Ben Cook on Twitter @bjfranciscook and buy copies of this issue here https://gumroad.com/bjfranciscook I’m going to say that £4 for a digital copy is a little high.
You can find Robert Ahmad here https://www.deviantart.com/bedtime143 and on Twitter @rob_ahmad_art
Find some amazing 2000 AD and Warrior inspired art over at Charlie Gillespie’s page here https://charlie_gillespie.artstation.com/ and follow him on Twitter @CGillespieUK
You can sign up for the Comichaus App or visit the website here https://www.comichaus.com/ Read loads of great indie titles or if you are a creator load your books on there and start earning.
Many thanks for reading.