Author Jason Becker and artist Jon Rea have collaborated to create Killing Pickman, a modern noire tale wrapped around serial child murder and Satanism. And honestly, it warms my heart, but please keep that between you and me.
Issue 1 starts with Detective Bill Zsu canvassing the neighborhood in which multiple children have disappeared. When he knocks on Dick Pickman’s door the hairs stand up on the back of his neck. After calling for back up a showdown ensues the results of which are six new holes in Pickman, the discovery of satanic hobbies undertaken by the aforementioned Mr. Pickman, and a tunnel in which more child victims are discovered alive. Pickman goes to the hospital and Detective Zsu goes a little crazy working the psychopath beat. Little does he know that he’s only scratched the surface of the depravity he’s just uncovered.
Becker’s story is fast-paced and streamlined. Where other stories get stuck in the mud while we all drown in exposition Becker kicks us in the ass, shoving us through the door of the loony bin. Conceptually and tonally, Killing Pickman is similar to comics such as Sin City and Arkham Asylum, as well as films including The Silence of the Lambs and Se7en.
Jon Rea’s artwork is bleak and fragmented embodying the dark themes of the story and the psychopathic nature of our antagonist. He uses charcoals, blues, blacks, grays and browns to saturate the pages with a noire palette. Fans of primary colors should keep a safe distance. Rea’s style is reminiscent of Frank Miller’s seminal Dark Knight masterpiece as well as Dave Mckean’s innovative and disturbing work from the early 90’s. There are moments when the action is obscured by the artistic style, but never for too long and never to the detriment of the book’s appeal.
Killing Pickman is fantastic. If you like your Satanism hardboiled and your child murder mysterious then this book is for you. Looking forward to issue 2.