After eight months of metal infused demon fighting, Murder Falcon from the Skybound imprint of Image Comics comes to a stage shattering end. Music and mayhem pack the pages with excitement but all good things must come to an end.
“It hurts to set you free
But you’ll never follow me
The end of laughter and soft lies
The end of nights we tried to die
This is the end”
The End by The Doors
With adrenaline pumping and a world breaking fight on their hands, it’s difficult to imagine the members of Brooticus before they were heroes of the Earth. Their journey has been a long and difficult one and it has all been leading to this moment.
Daniel Warren Johnson opens the final issue of Murder Falcon with a scene worthy of the best war movie, or possibly a Godzilla flick. The scale of the battle is illustrated on the second and third page by a momentous double page spread made even more impressive by the lack of dialogue and sound effect. This moment is just too big for words.
The scale of the battle is constantly referenced throughout making this a spectacular final issue. The pages of the comic are almost too small to hold the action and Johnson’s world shattering story. On a large number of the pages, the images simply bleed to the edge encompassing the reader in the vastness of the situation. Johnson tries at every stage to include the reader in the action, like a rock band encourages their audiences to sing along and dance. He wants this fight to be your fight as much as it is Brooticus’.
This engagement is important for the story because Johnson needs the reader to be emotionally committed to the characters. He has proven month after month that he can tug at the heart strings of his readers while surrounding them with the most outlandish of situations. This final issue is no different. As the reader becomes embroiled in the larger than life action, the type of End of the World battle that makes audiences shout out in support as seen in a number of the Marvel superhero movies, Johnson is laying the ground work for the emotional ending. And it is an outstanding piece of storytelling.
In such a short period, an eight issue run is not that long for a comic series, Johnson has made his characters so real and sympathetic that the fans are invested in band members. As such the final issue of Murder Falcon will make you physically gasp, shout out and cry.
The art work follows the tone of the story from page to page. The layouts are chaotic during the battle sequences but the panels become precise and contained for the emotional parts. It is the complex layouts that give the comic it’s clever pacing, pulling the reader along at such a speed that they are not ready for the emotional gut punches to come.
Mike Spicer follows Johnson’s lead by making the fight sequences full of vibrant colors. The lack of actual sound is replaced by the impression of music in the way that the color interacts with the surroundings. The backgrounds fluctuate and the panel boarders vibrate. Russ Wooton’s lettering weaves it’s way on and under the action, becoming one with the artwork. Even the speech balloons help with the storytelling, whether it’s using a tail to separate a character from a crowd or a small balloon lost in an oppressive image to emphasis a moment.
Murder Falcon has been a fresh and exciting comic from the moment the first issue hit the shelves. Johnson hasn’t held back and allowed his love of metal music to fuel his crazy story. But at every single step the characters have been the important aspect of his story: difficult to believe with a quick flick through but Jakes journey has been emotional and relatable. His fight against a natural disease over shadows all of the outlandish demons and mythical metal paraphernalia.
Murder Falcon has been about Jake facing up to the most difficult parts of his life. And the reader has been there every step of the way which is why this final issue is so spectacular and emotional.
Johnson and his team have created something exciting and different from anything else being released by the main comic publishers. The combination of music and mayhem gives this comic it’s edge but the heart is where the story is. Murder Falcon brought a tear to this reviewer’s eye and I expect that everyone who reads this comic will feel exactly the same.
Bravo, Murder Falcon, Bravo.
Now all that’s left are the cries for an encore!