Review: Pilot Season ‘Murderer’

MURDERER marks the beginning of Top Cows’ very interesting ‘Pilot Season’ campaign that allows readers to vote which of 4 titles will go from being a one shot to getting its own mini-series (Think ‘American Idol’ for comics). Luckily, the task of writing these stories has been left in the ever-capable hands of Robert Kirkman (“The Walking Dead”). (Spoilers Follow)

MURDERER follows Jason, a completely normal middleclass guy who leads a seemingly equally normal and boring life. Fortunately for the reader though, things aren’t as they seem for Jason. Jason hears voices, and not in the same way that Voorhees guy hears his mommy telling him to kill horny teens. Everywhere Jason goes he hears (and sees) people’s thoughts, their plans, their dirty little secrets, and the only way to quell the assault on his mind is to kill someone.

The entire idea seems a bit clichéd, and we have all seen things similar to it in almost all forms of media. What makes MURDERER stand out though is Kirkman’s unique spin on the power. Jason doesn’t enjoy what he does like Dexter Morgan. And he doesn’t use his power to get in good with the ladies like Mel Gibson in ‘What Women Want’. (What, to early?) instead he kills in order to set his mind at ease. Near the end of the story, in a very emotionally detached fashion that only Kirkman and Silvestri could give such weight, Jason tells the woman he has just saved from her abusive spouse that he only kills for the few hours of peace that murder gives him.

It is for this reason that Jason avoids being the same type of character that we have seen before. There is always a look of emotional distress on his face. A detachment from a man who is being forced into attachment to everyone around him. In 32 pages Kirkman is able to build an emotional connection between the audience to his tragic antihero.

That being said some much needed credit must be given to Marc Silvestri for his part in this story. Every scene is given a realistic and detailed touch and sympathetic tone. Through every line on every characters face you seem to be able to draw some conclusion on even the most miniscule characters back-story. It is obvious that this was done purposely, but when you can go from having absolutely no care for the life of a wife beating psychopath, to wanting Jason to let go of the mans throat as he chokes the life from him, then you know you are at the will of a gifted artist.

All in all Top Cow’s Pilot Season: MURDERER is a triumph in its own right. It will be very interesting to see what the rest of the series will bring to the table with the first issue setting the bar so high. If MURDERER never goes anywhere it would be a shame, because what the team has created is something equal parts intriguing, sympathetic, and tragic.

Rating: 4.5 Skulls out of 5