Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Review - Joe Golem Occult Detective: The Outer Dark #1 (@DarkHorseComics)


Dealing with the occult requires a special type of person. Joe Golem is such a person and his experience in dealing with things that are supernatural and out of this world. In Joe Golem Occult Detective: The Outer Dark #1 from Dark Horse Comics, Joe Golem's latest case might be a bit different than he's used to. The issue is written by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden, illustrated by Patric Reynolds and colored by Dave Stewart.

Two years after he killed a child-snatching monster and stopped an undead takeover in the Drowning City, occult detective Joe Golem searches for a man with superhuman strength who is attacking citizens under orders from the otherworldly voices in his head. But Joe has his own demons to wrestle with...

Mignola and Golden always tend to make entries in the Joe Golem series a heady mix of macabre and noir and Joe Golem Occult Detective: The Outer Dark #1 is no exception. The writing duo spend most of the issue building up slowly to the focus of the series which is Joe Golem dealing with a mysterious character with a brutal savagery at his beck and call. The issue is paced in such a way that the reader is shown methodically what's happening and the tension simmers in a way that matches the overall atmosphere of the book. Mignola and Golden infuse the characters with very clear motivations that interact with one another in ways that are fascinating. As a character, Joe Golem has always had a penchant for dealing with the unknown and Mignola and Golden know this as well.

Reynolds' artwork is chilling in a nostalgic way. His style is somewhere between watercolors and painted art, all of which comes together in a way that leaves some of the details of the monsters purposefully vague. Reynolds takes something of a "bump in the night" approach in that the artwork is ambiguous at points in a way that asks the reader's imagination to fill in the gaps. The Drowning City is rendered in a way that lends itself well to the city's description and reinforces the generally morose tone of the characters and story. Stewart's colors further this depressed sense of visuals and relies on a mix of grays and browns for great effect.

Joe Golem Occult Detective: The Outer Dark #1 is another haunting entry in the Joe Golem series that draws upon the character's encounters with generally haunting situations. Joe Golem is dealing with something new terrorizing the Drowning City and the build-up to it is methodical. Mignola and Golden are a fantastic team and take their time letting the story develop on its own. Reynolds' artwork is very atmospheric in its approach. Joe Golem Occult Detective: The Outer Dark #1 is a very well-thought out first issue that may seem pretty quiet in terms of action, but the tone it sets for the rest of the series is very loud.

Joe Golem Occult Detective: The Outer Dark #1 is available now.

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