Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Joe Golem #1 Review

Joe Golem: Occult Detective #1

In a different universe's version of New York of the mid-1950s, a huge catastrophe and rising seas have made New York like Venice, Italy - a place of waterways, a sinking city. Detective Simon Church is an occult detective, who has just lost another partner, and friend, to the dark things that seek to take hold of this alternate world. Simon has just resolved to work alone against the rising tide, when lightning strike animates one of his occult artifacts...A golem. Ten years later, the golem, now named Joe, has surpassed he mentor and now takes on occult cases alone. When Joe sets out to find some missing children, he'll get more than he bargained for...And he just might find love.

Patric Reynolds' art really gets the job done in this dismal, water-logged world. Reynolds' sketchy, moody, dark pencils create the absolute perfect atmosphere for this comic. However, I'm sorry to say that, for me, the art was one of the few redeeming factors of this book. It is rare that Mignola makes a misstep (and maybe he didn't here), but the book seems to move too quickly - it feels so muddled, with so much trying to be done in one book. I always felt like I was missing something, I felt that I just didn't really know enough about the characters to really invest in them, or care about them. At the start, I was very optimistic - Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden take us into a world that is VERY Mignola-esque, but from there, uncertainty of the relationship between Joe and Church, the meaning of Joe's nightmares, Church's identity and backstory, and what happened in the lost ten years of the book really took me out of the story. I understand that there was a graphic novel that preceded this book, but this really doesn't seem to be a book that welcomes readers with no previous knowledge of the character. It's definitely not a good jumping-on point, but Mignola's Joe Golem #1 was not entirely unenjoyable - the art alone makes it worth a look.

RATING: 6.5 out of 10.

P.S. If you're into re-animated occult detectives or heroes, a better choice would be Burlyman's Doc Frankenstein:

Created by Geof Darrow and Steve Skroce, written by the Wachowskis (The Matrix), and illustrated by Steve Skroce, it's simply the most brilliant comic of this genre that I have ever read. It desperately needs to be developed for film or TV. Get it on the cheap here: Doc Frankenstein.

Thanks for reading.


  1. Yep! I saw that book & didn't get it for fear it wasn't good enough.
    Thanks for the nice review Tex!

  2. My pleasure, Gil.

    I read reviews saying that it was top of the heap, but it wasn't the Mignola that I'm used to.