Filed under: Comic Reviews, Indie Comics | Tags: City of Lost Souls, James McCulloch, Janine Van Moosel, Matt Jordan, MooMac Comics
City of Lost Souls marks the first of many creator-owned publications to come from MooMac Comics and writer James McCulloch teams up with artist Janine Van Moosel to bring us a dark and violent addition to the list of indie titles on offer throughout the UK and beyond.
We follow murderer Matt Jordan and opens with his description of his latest victim and how he killed him before attempting his own suicide to end it all. An ambitious opening gambit for a new title to take with some big issues crammed in and while we’re not really given any explanation it’s fun to be along for the ride after being thrown in at the deep end. While Matt’s suicide may not have been successful that’s only due to the arrival of soul hunter Soku who brings him back to take part in a twisted game of hunt the City that Soku and her fellow hunters use to amuse themselves during an eternity of the high-life of being a hunter.
Part amusement and part glimmer of hope for their selected victim, it acts as a chance at redemption but with conditions……the biggest of which being that the City itself has achieved mythical status given how many have tried and failed to find it. A sick & twisted turn for our central character but given that opening…..there is an air of Matt getting what he deserves…..and that seems to sit fine with me the reader….does that make me just as sick?? So Matt is now out for his life, or at least what passes for his life and the souls of his twelve victims – high stakes but as he nestles in between life & death I’m thinking to myself…..this story needs a midget….and sure enough that’s what we get.
Ki enters as Matt’s unofficial guide on the hows and why’s of his quest for the City and Matt’s disbelief in Ki’s motives are quickly quenched with the arrival of a demon who’s hellbent on ending Matt’s attempts. In true buddy-movie style Matt & Ki team-up & kick the demon’s ass, cutting it’s hand off in the process. Intro’s done, enemies suitably annoyed and all with barely a few pages under our belts so the “S%$& just got real” and this is where we descend deeper and deeper into the quest and the knowledge that the blurred lines between life & death are going to play a big part if the City is going to be found.
Ki knows an insider who can get Matt’s quest off to a worthy start and somewhere in the deeper, background areas of hell we see the demons rise up with a firm target on Matt’s head and revenge is coming to get him. Demons have their motives but then the twelve souls of Matt’s victims are added to the mix for some very real menace that sees an army against our central character…..and still I’m thinking that Matt deserves it…..at the same time as hoping he finds the city.
A strong anti-hero as our central character and the mix of the supernatural, subtle humour and all-out horror seems to be a match made in….well……hell for writer James McCulloch as he plucks devilish ideas and rubs them together like salt n vinegar crisps in a paper-cut. That’s a good thing though as the uneasy horror moments are well-paced and the opening issue in itself holds up well. Added to that mix is the dark & disturbing artwork from Janine Van Moosel as part caricature/part nightmare blend to mess with your head and drag you into limbo along with Matt.
Another worthy addition to my pile of indie.self-published books to keep up with and another horror title that makes me feel like I should be reading more horror. Keep an eye out for the team behind COLS if you’re at MCM Scotland this weekend (6th & 7th Sep) and if you can’t make it check out the website store for issue #1, t-shirts and more
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