Comic Review – John Flood #1 (Boom! Studios)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he reviews of one of them, with potential minor spoilers.

This week I picked up John Flood #1, the first issue of a new six part mini series from Boom! Studios. It was written by Justin Jordan and illustrated by Jorge Coelho, with colours by Tamra Bonvillain and letters from Ed Dukeshire.

John Flood centres around the character of the same name, a private investigator who, following some government testing 10 years ago, no longer requires sleep. It sounds pretty useful, except for the side effect of John being in a permanent dream state, making it difficult to distinguish what is real and what isn’t any more. This is relayed to us in first page exposition as John, with blood on his hands and handcuffs on his wrists, tries to explain to the arresting officers what has happened.

Cut to a week before, and John’s assistant Lyta Brumbaugh is recruiting disgraced cop Alexander Berry to help out with a case Flood is working on. Despite being found not guilty, a video went viral of whatever Berry was accused of doing (which isn’t clear yet). So Lyta offers him a job, her job in fact. She takes him to John Flood’s run-down looking giant house, a mess of all of the books, sculptures and other hobbies that a man who doesn’t sleep needs to focus on with all of his extra time. After a scattered meeting with Flood that includes a showdown with a disgruntled client, he starts to fill him in on the case – trying to catch a serial killer he believes has been working for decades. The pattern? There is no pattern. The lack of anything connecting hundreds of murders across America over several years is what connects them.

When I first heard about this series I expected it to be a bit heavier on the dreamlike reality the John Flood perceives, but so far the perspective seems to largely be from others interacting with him, along with glimpses of the murderer he is investigating. The mystery of the case is interesting, but the lead up and reveal comes all in a rush at the end of the issue. Nevertheless, this was a good read. Flood comes across like a blend of Matt Smith’s Doctor and Ace Ventura, manic and unfocused but ultimately brilliant. The main thrust of the dialogue in this first issue comes from interaction between Lyta and Berry, which reads as very genuine, and their characters are compelling too. Coelho’s angular art is very impressive, with heavy bold lines and really nice environmental shots, in particular the front of the house, the room of books and the cabin full of dead bodies. The scenes in the woods where the killer stalks his prey look oppressive and intense, intensified by Bonvillain’s colours.

This was a very nice first issue of John Flood with really compelling characters and great art. The angle of eliminating sleep doesn’t even seem to play in to the story yet, more as a quirk for the main character (because TV has taught me that all PIs and Detectives need a quirk), though I’d be surprised if it doesn’t come in later. Check out this first issue at your LCS or digitally!

Score: 7.5 Seemingly Unconnected Murders out of 10

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