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Maniac Of New York: The Bronx is Burning #1 Review

4 min read
The bloody saga of Maniac Harry continues!

The next phase of the journey.

Creative Staff:
Story: Elliot Kalan
Art: Andrea Mutti
Letterer: Taylor Esposito

What They Say:
After the tragedy of The Death Train, Detective Zelda Pettibone and mayoral aide Gina Greene have lost the trail of the Maniac — and the support of the city. Copycats are springing up, tensions are high and traffic is a nightmare. So, what happens when your favorite unstoppable, mindless killer resurfaces in a Bronx high school? Can Zelda and Gina get there before Maniac Harry adds to his body count? Will the students tear their attention away from their phones long enough to notice there’s a monster in the halls?

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The first five-issue series was my first experience with writer Elliot Kalan who has done some work at Marvel with big-name characters and has a pretty strong body of work out in the entertainment world that I’m unfamiliar with. The series delivered a really fun, weird, and crazy book that stood out well, making me glad for this second round of insanity. What also helped to make the first book 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.

With things having quieted down just a bit since the incidents of the first series, there are still a lot of things going on in New York as they try to make it a tourist haven but having to deal with the reality of the Maniac. For Gina and Zelda, that means a lot of tips that they have to follow up on that never seem to pan out. For example, we get them going to a liquor store holdup where the owner talks about what the Maniac said, how he filmed them, and then ran off with the money. Which contradicts everything that these two know about it of course, but the owner is just trying to make sure the story sticks enough for the insurance claim. Sadly, things have gone even worse for Gina over the recent past because of what happened on the train and we see more of that fallout later when they get coffee and the owner freaks out on her being served because she holds her responsible for the deaths.

With the two of them working through the Bronx for tips and hints about the Maniac, they also know that this is likely the last place that he’d ever be. Which is a sure sign that he’s going to be there. We get that with a high school there where one young man is dealing with the struggle of the whole experience. While he used to go to a magnet school elsewhere, the subway murders had his mother keeping him much closer. Of course, that’s exactly when the real Maniac will show up and we see him starting his foray into the school. It’s an amusing set up and execution as Kalan leans into the corporate education side and the issues that stem from it with these kinds of situations and the education itself. It’s a familiar bit that may feel a little forced in coming out in the dialogue here but it’s also a reality.

In Summary:
I’m definitely glad to be back in this world of Maniac of New York. The original run was definitely an intense and weird piece that really left you wanting to know the truth behind the mask. And I do hope we get that eventually and not just a tease that’s left unanswered. This installment starts off slow as it works some good setup here and I like how it ramps up quickly once the Maniac arrives. Going with a different setting helps as well. The book reads well to be sure but Andrea Mutti’s artwork and color design just takes it to the next level. I love the cool colors throughout and the layouts for the action as his rampage gets underway is a delight, especially the panic from some trying to get guidance on how to manage this. I’m excited to see what’s coming.

Grade: B+

Age Rating: 15+
Released By: AfterShock Comics
Release Date: December 1st, 2021
MSRP: $4.99