Murder Falcon Issue #1
Writer and Artist: Daniel Warren Johnson
Colorist: Mike Spicer
Murder Falcon #1 is Daniel Warren Johnson’s newest book, published by Image and Skybound. It follows Jake, previously a small time but nonetheless praised metal guitarist. He ends up directionless after a personal tragedy, leading to the breakup of his band and causing him to shatter his own guitar. But Jake is selected by the Murder Falcon, an extradimensional being empowered by his guitar solos. They now save the world from monsters sent by the eldritch “Magnum Khaos.” Murder Falcon #1 tries to establish a contrast between its absurd action and tragic characterization. But unfortunately, it ends up a bit muddled.
Metal music gets a bad rep and probably for a number of good reasons. But a recent trend in comic books has been making “metal” stories that take the shallowest aspects of the genre to make the story more bombastic. They ignore that while it is ridiculous, it isn’t any less legitimate than any other genre of music. Even Iron Maiden and Judas Priest have songs with explicit political messages or some sort of deeper meaning. Despite its best intentions, Murder Falcon falls short in its depiction of heavy metal. Murder Falcon leaps into Jake’s life to kill monsters and stop evil, providing him with a distraction from his personal issues and a friend to help him through them. The issue only treats metal as an absurd escape from life, failing to recognize that it does more than just entertain.
Murder Falcon’s handling of metal would be easier to brush aside if the “real world” elements were better handled. Jake’s underdeveloped personal life feels a little clichéd. That means it does a little better than the intentionally ridiculous “Metal Falcon” aspect when it comes to saying something meaningful. Jake himself is defined almost entirely by his misfortune and guitar playing abilities. That makes for a functional protagonist but there’s not much of a hook. Admittedly issue #1 clearly intends to establish the story more than develop it. Hopefully, future issues will expand on Murder Falcon’s world and characters.
Murder Falcon issue #1’s saving grace is some impressive artwork. Johnson’s art is perfect for the sort of story the book wants to tell. The action takes prominence over all else in issue #1 but at least they’re impressive fights. Johnson lends his fights a sense of scale and weight you rarely see in comics. His designs are in the right spot between intimidating and ridiculous, particularly his monsters. Mike Spicer’s vibrant colors work well with Johnson’s art. It helps bring the latter’s already impressive art to a new level. Murder Falcon Issue #1 doesn’t quite hit the mark but its great art and ambition means it’s something to watch.
Murder Falcon Issue #1
Murder Falcon Issue #1 has some thrilling moments but fails to present its more human side.