Joe Golem: Occult Detective—Flesh and Blood #1 (of 2)

Mike Mignola (W), Christopher Golden (W), Patric Reynolds (A), Dave Stewart ©, and Dave Palumbo (Cover)
On sale Dec 20 • FC, 32 pages • $3.99 • Miniseries
Occult detective Joe Golem continues to protect New York City from supernatural danger when he investigates a home that has become a hotbed of paranormal activity, but the real danger may be from the person he least suspects.
First issue in a new arc!

Mike Mignola has made his fame from monsters, and with the launch of Joe Golem: Occult Detective this week he adds yet another creepy chapter to his growing tome. And damn, it’s pretty good.

Here’s the official word from @darkhorsecomics:  

“Forty years after disaster left Lower Manhattan submerged in thirty feet of water, children have begun disappearing below the surface. In this new series, Joe Golem hunts the terrifying creature that has been pulling children into the depths of the canals.”

Here’s a backstory that generally doesn’t precede a comic launch: in the months before 911 a young(er) Mike Mignola came up with the idea for series that included a flooded New York City and lengths the people would take to survive in a devastated city. But then the Towers fell, and the image of a demolished city shifted from abstract fiction to heartbreaking reality, and the idea was shelved. At least for the next eleven years.

And then, in March of 2012, Mignola and his co-writer Christopher Golden published an illustrated novel that resurrected the idea. No, it wasn’t a comic, but it had legs and caught the attention of fans and critics alike. Now Mignola and Golden have pivoted back to comics and launched issue #1 of a five part limited series that ties-in with the 2012 novel, but introduces a new terror: an amphibious monster that haunts the watery canals eating children and terrorizing the citizenry. For those of you who never read the 2012 novel that Joe Golem is built off of, don’t worry. Mignola and Golden have crafted a beautifully open entry point with issue #1  – Joe, the mythical creature turned private eye, is laid out in a way that’s both engaging and readily accessible to new readers. And while Joe’s primary concern in issue #1 is locating and stopping the canal monster, Mignola and Goldman divide their script with fascinating moments of backstory.

The art, by Patric Reynolds, is stunning, dark, and rich with details. His panoramics of the flooded city are worth framing; his depiction of the Golem’s battles with ancient witches is gory and beautiful all at the same time. In short, he’s pitch perfect for this title.

Joe Golem: Occult Detective is something special. Grab it, and you’ll agree.

Reviewed by Max Delgado

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