REVIEW: Murder Falcon #1 by Daniel Warren Johnson, Mike Spicer, & Rus Wooton

Murder Falcon #1 is out 10/10.

By Zack Quaintance — In the opening of this comic, a kaiju attacks a city, a conversion van speeds to the scene, and a long-haired guitar-slinging protagonist steps out from behind the wheel to save the day, laconic and determined. His early dialogue includes lines like There’ll be no baby eating on my watch; and I don’t need weapons, officer...I brought METAL. The hero (whose name is Jake) commences to rock, creating blue lightning with his guitar riff, from which a muscled and shirtless chicken man emerges and subsequently uses a bionic arm to kungfu fight the kaiju into submission.

This is all in the first five pages of Daniel Warren Johnson’s new comic Murder Falcon, which reads like a Tenacious D song in graphic sequential format. Like The D, Johnson’s new book gleefully embraces heavy metal culture, loving it so hard and so seriously it tips into a delightful self-aware parody of its source material. The opening of this book is, simply put, exactly what its perfect name and kinetic cover imply: a love letter to metal articulated through an action comic, a delightful burst of pop art informed by a hirsute and black t-shirted corner of our culture. It succeeds wildly, powered by an unpretentious good time plus also Johnson’s massive talent as a comic book artist/storyteller.

Daniel Warren Johnson’s immense talent as an artist is on full display in Murder Falcon #1.

And if this were the sum total of Murder Falcon #1’s aspirations, it would be just fine, a light and hilarious exercise in craftsmanship. At page six, however, this story becomes something much deeper. It flashes back to our rocker on a bench in calmer times. He’s subdued and despondent, and soon we get a clear sense that he’s in mourning, that’s he severely depressed, that...something tragic has occurred. We don’t know exactly what (more hints in time), but we know nearly everyone in his life is driven to stop and ask how he’s doing, to be kind in a way often reserved for those who’ve weathered a massive loss.

I don’t want to go too far into the metaphors and juxtapositions in this book, but I’ll just note that there is a dichotomy here—heavy metal cornball rocking vs. heart-rending drama—that elevates Murder Falcon #1 into rarefied air of debuts, placing it among the best new #1 comics of 2018. Essentially, this book is more than a corny rocking homage to metal. It’s a deep meditation on how we cope with tragedy and loss, how severe depression can both push us toward and away from the hobbies we’ve come to love in our lives.

Overall: A powerful debut with much to say about love and loss, Murder Falcon #1 succeeds on a number of levels. Johnson is a massive talent, and he nails this story, letting his kinetic artwork shine during moments of high action while knowing when to backoff and frame emotional moments with simpler visuals. This is a MUST BUY comic. 10/10

For more comic book reviews, check out our review archives.

Zack Quaintance is a tech reporter by day and freelance writer by  night/weekend. He Tweets compulsively about storytelling and comics as BatmansBookcase.

Top Comics to Buy for October 10, 2018

By Zack Quaintance — This week is one of those recovery weeks, wherein the vast majority of the comics world was at a massive con (in this case NYCC), and many of us are still dazed and catching up on sleep (not me, I stayed home in California and slept like a baby, but I digress…). The scheduled books from the Big 2 roll on, though, while the indie offerings are strong too. It is, as has become normal for 2018, another strong week for comics.

Yes even with the NYCC hangover, there’s still quite a bit going on this week, ranging from new title debuts—Devil Within, Infinite Dark, and Murder Falcon are all well worth your time and money—to the continuations of two of my favorite superhero books right now—Hawkman and Immortal Hulk. Oh, and about NYCC: I have a separate piece coming later today about the top new comic announcements. So keep an eye out for that! But for now let’s narrow down the comics you plan to buy for this coming Wednesday.

Let’s do it!

Top Comics to Buy for October 10, 2018

Crowded #3 (Read our review of Crowded #1)
Christopher Sebela
Peniciler: Ro Stein
Inker: Ted Brandt
Colorist: Triona Farrell
Letterer: Cardinal Rae
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99
Circe and Trotter, two of the heaviest hitters in the private murder industry, have just landed in Los Angeles, looking for Charlie and eager to collect the almost two million dollar Reapr campaign on her life. Charlie, oblivious to the growing danger, tries to carry on her freewheeling lifestyle while under Vita's lock and key. But even their safest safehouse can't keep the fame-and-fortune-driven killers off their trail for too long.
Why It’s Cool: Through three issues, Crowded continues to be a perfect amalgamation of suspenseful plotting, clear and clever visual storytelling, and a high-concept that extrapolates our present into a logical and terrifying future. This issue continues to entertain as it builds the near-future world out and introduces some intimidating new villains that are sure to complicate our heroes’ fight for survival amid the crowd-sourced bounty on one of their heads that continues to grow.

Hot Lunch Special #3 (Read our review of Hot Lunch Special #1)
Eliot Rahal
Artist: Jorge Fornes
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Publisher: AfterShock Comics
Price: $3.99
There are no secrets now. Only bodies. It's dinner time, and Dorothy and Jordan are competing to sit at the head of the table, both forcing their family members to make hard decisions. Do the Khorys go to the cops? Or do they go to war? The Khoury criminal legacy is fully revealed. Some choices have already been made-the Irish crime lord, Big Jim Moran, is getting anxious. He's left too many loose ends, and he's forced to cut strings. The order has been given. It's time for everyone to die.
Why It’s Cool: I’ve called this book Fargo-esque in the past, but I think after three issues that’s kind of a reductive description that does it a bit of a disservice. Sure, Hot Lunch Special has crime noir and an upper Midwestern setting in common with Fargo, but it also sets itself apart with its deep interest in family dynamics. This is a deliberate and nuanced book, grissly and compelling in equal parts, and I’m absolutely all in on following it to its finish.

Immortal Hulk #7
Al Ewing
Artist: Lee Garbett
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99
They're the reason he died. They're the reason he came back. Now THE AVENGERS have to bring him in. But how far will even Earth's Mightiest Heroes go to cage...the IMMORTAL HULK?
Why It’s Cool: I’ve made no secret that I love Immortal Hulk, especially in my recent look at the Top 5 Marvel Comics Right Now. For me, this is squarely a MUST BUY comic until further notice. I love how writer Al Ewing has exercised restraint with incorporating pieces of the usual Hulk mythos, limiting appearances by Banner’s normally-robust supporting cast. That is slowly changing, though, and here we see Hulk poised to tangle with The Avengers, as Hulk has long been wont to do.

Murder Falcon #1
Daniel Warren Johnson
Colorist: Mike Spicer
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99
From DANIEL WARREN JOHNSON, the creator of the Eisner-nominated series EXTREMITY, comes MURDER FALCON! The world is under attack by monsters, and Jake's life is falling apart: no band, no girl, no future... until he meets Murder Falcon. He was sent from The Heavy to destroy all evil, but he can't do it without Jake shredding up a storm. Now, with every chord Jake plays on his guitar, the power of metal fuels Murder Falcon into all-out kung fu fury on those that seek to conquer Earth. It’s time to shred.
Why It’s Cool: Murder Falcon #1 is brimming with the sort of self-aware over-the-top comic book cheese I love: monsters, mayhem, kung-fu fighting falcons, and metal chords so savage they can alter the physical nature of the world around them. THere is, however, a surprising amount of heart to this book as well. As entertaining as its name and cover implies with a surprising amount of thought behind it all, Murder Falcon is the best comic out this week...a MUST BUY.

Supergirl #23
Marc Andreyko & Kevin Maguire
Artist: Kevin Maguire
Inkers: Sean Parsons & Wade Von Grawbadger
Colorist: FCO Plascencia & Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99
Supergirl's cosmic quest continues as she searches the galaxy for the truth about Rogol Zaar's connection to Krypton's destruction-and if there are any other culprits to be brought to justice. The library police are hot on Kara's trail after she breaks into the Green Lantern database on Mogo, but she's short on credits to pay the fine.
Why It’s Cool: One of my favorite parts of Brian Michael Bendis’ Superman run to date is the idea that Krypton was not destroyed by a natural disaster but rather a concentrated act of bigoted hate. It’s a very 2018 idea, this notion that major power structures can be manipulated by playing on base fears of the other. Anyway, in Supergirl we have Kara adventuring through space with Krypto the dog, working to solve the mystery of whether the planet’s destruction was a hate crime, who perpetrated, and—most poignantly—what powerful group of people worked to cover it up. This is, simply put, one of DC’s best comics right now.  

Top New #1 Comics for October 10, 2018

Others Receiving Votes

  • Amazing Spider-Man #7

  • Avengers #9

  • Captain America #4

  • Crowded #3

  • Flash #56

  • Hawkman #5

  • Oblivion Song #8

  • She Could Fly #4

  • Suicide Squad #47

  • Titans #27

  • Unnatural #4

  • Venom #7

  • Weatherman #5

  • Wildstorm: Michael Cray #12

  • Wonder Woman #56

  • Wrong Earth #2

See our past top comics to buy here, and check our our reviews archive here.

Zack Quaintance is a tech reporter by day and freelance writer by night/weekend. He Tweets compulsively about storytelling and comics as BatmansBookcase.