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"Maniac of New York #2" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by AfterShock Comics

article-cover

Written by Elliott Kalan
Illustrated by Andrea Mutti
Lettered by Taylor Esposito
2021, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on March 10th, 2021

Review:

A masked killer has been terrorizing the people of New York City for years. You never know when Maniac Harry is going to pop up and slash a few innocent people to pieces. It's become part of life in the big city. If you want to enjoy the best bagels and pizza in the country, you have to be ready to die at a moment's notice thanks to this madman's blade. The diminished Maniac Task Force has something to say about that, even if the rest of the public has all but given up.

On the surface, Maniac of New York sounds a little ridiculous. With everything we have in terms of technology and skills, you'd think we'd be able to catch a single guy that's racking up such a high body count. Once it got hard, the people just stopped caring. Doesn't that sound a lot like how we reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic? Despite real world consequences, the danger has become abstract. With the size of the city, what are the odds you'll run into Harry anyway?

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This issue flips back and forth between Harry's latest attack, occurring during the inaugural ride of the city's first automated subway, and the reaction by Gina Greene of the Maniac Task Force and NYPD Detective Zelda Pettibone. Artist Andrea Mutti differentiates between the two with unique color palettes. The train is shaded in cool blue in the backgrounds with a yellow light that gives many of the victims a jaundiced look. Of course, it's splattered with bright red blood. The other scenes are grittier, giving them a more real world vibe, as if Harry's massacre is fantasy.

This feeling extends to the design of the killer too. Where you can read the emotions of the other characters, Harry is more of a cartoon brought to life. His face is covered by a white mask with an almost comical expression drawn on it in blood.

Greene is the one rational person in Maniac of New York, saying what we're all thinking about how all of this is insane and we should be doing everything in our power to stop Harry. You can feel the tension and the pure rage that's coursing through her as she meets one obstacle after another on her quest to save lives. Letterer Taylor Esposito brings this one in an explosive scene where Greene throws her cards on the table and blows up at a reporter in a powerful statement.

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Although Harry's victims on the train are new to us and basically cannon fodder, writer Elliott Kalan gives them each backstories. They have voices, lives, and loved ones. They're human. This is what we forget sometimes when talking about the pandemic. This makes Harry's attacks all the more impactful. These aren't faceless victims of a slasher. They have meaning.

Maniac of New York presents a refreshing new spin on the slasher genre, serving as a great allegory for issues facing the world today. It blends horror with a bit of political thriller and top notch action.

Grades:

Story: fourandahalfstars Cover
Buy from Amazon US.
Cover
Buy from Amazon UK.
Art: fourstars
Overall: 4.5 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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