Story: Elliot Kalan
Art: Andrea Mutti
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
What They Say:
Four years ago, a masked slasher began stalking the streets of New York City.
Maniac Harry is inhuman, unkillable, and unstoppable. Which is why the authorities’ solution has been to ignore him and let New Yorkers adapt to a world where death can strike at any moment. When Maniac Harry starts killing his way through the subway system, trauma-haunted political aide Gina Greene and disgraced NYPD detective Zelda Pettibone become determined to go rogue and destroy him. But how can they fight a monster when they can’t fight City Hall?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Maniac Of New York brings me my first experience with writer Elliot Kalan who has done some work at Marvel with big name characters and has a pretty strong world of work out in the entertainment world that I’m unfamiliar with. Which is fine because sometimes you get to take the joy in discovering someone new to follow, even if the joy is in a book about a mass murderer that may be the spirit of New York City. What helped make an interesting book even more interesting was that Andrea Mutti is handling the artwork and coloring for it. I’ve sung Mutti’s praises for years now and thoroughly enjoy the projects he takes on as he character design work is great with some neat elements that he utilizes. There’s a particular sense about them that I’m just drawn to on top of already great worldbuilding skills.
The premise here is one that covers about four or so years of time in its first half before settling in on 2020. Though events begin prior to 2016 as we learn by the end, 2016 is when the world discovered the Maniac of New York, a knife-wielding guy in a mask that killed some eight or so people on New Year’s Eve, including six cops, and was never captured. That mobilized the city to deal with this and the sentiment spread throughout the country. But the Maniac was never able to be captured, killed, or discovered and over the years the body count has gone up to almost 500. But what’s worse is that the killing has become normalized. When new occurrences come up, or simply sightings that may or may not be real, people get told to stay indoors and just avoid the area. It’s dispiriting to say the least but at the same time it’s pretty much what you expect would really happen.
With the main focus in 2020, we’re introduced to Jennifer as she takes on the role of the director of the task force in the city to deal with the Maniac. This is a rotating shit job where it’s just a small desk in a small room that cycles through people as a kind of punishment almost. But we see that Jennifer has a deeper past with this and is all intense about the role even though it’s considered a joke, which makes her mocked pretty heavily since she’s in command of nothing. We do see her getting some help, reluctantly, from someone else on punishment duty that has a history with dealing with these cases. All of this is set against the backdrop of a new train being deployed in the city that doesn’t require drivers and that’s a big shiny target for a psycho with a knife…
Maniac of New York starts off big and strong while also providing a lot of good character material to engage with so that it feels really well fleshed out. First issues can be really hit or miss in how well it handles providing concept and character and so many books these days overperform in a way that harms the storytelling, providing reveals too early instead of taking the time to let it unfold. Kalan nails it perfectly here while Mutti’s artwork drives the intensity of all beautifully. Though the title itself and the general concept isn’t something I’m naturally drawn to, I’m hugely excited to see what comes next.
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: AfterShock Comics
Release Date: February 3rd, 2021