Meet Janie “Strummer” Jones, a mundane private detective in LA who also happens to be a werewolf. Her dry-wit partner Ben Si’Lat also happens to be an English-born half-djinn, and they also have a pet hellhound named Grim. When an enigmatic and wealthy connoisseur and collector of cryptids hires our furry feral gumshoe to solve the mystery of a stolen heirloom, Strummer and company are drawn from their mediocrity into the uncanny and seedy world of monsters. An appreciated level of urgency is added to the plot when the culprit starts systematically targeting those in Strummer’s circles.
While this premise of classical horror characters in a contemporary, urban setting is nothing new, its low-key approach to its universe is akin to what you’d find in Vertigo’s Fables. Fables was a series wherein mythological creatures, and fairytale characters are treated as real in modern society, albeit clandestinely so.
Bouts and skirmishes are brief as this is a dialog-heavy, slow-burn affair rather than an action-oriented one. To that end, we’re only offered fleeting moments of Strummer in wolf-mode. One of Black’s Myth most significant detriments is its coy use of the characters’ abilities and attributes, especially those of Strummer’s partner Ben. His extensive list of powers is woefully underutilized, making the “supernatural” elements feel like an afterthought rather than integral to the overall story and characters themselves.
A pleasant and welcomed surprise was that each of the five issues is bookended by about three proses from various authors as a nice little dessert to the preceding narrative. Fourteen in all, they run the gamut of the same supernatural horror spectrum.
The art is quite conservative in that it’s black and white, with extensive use of traditional nine-panel layouts and full-page formats extensively used throughout. The larger panels are sufficiently detailed, and the facial expressions get the mood and sensibilities of the characters across.
While Black’s Myth has an intriguing start, the climax is rushed, underwhelming, and completely serendipitous. Its clunky, inorganic resolution robs the story of any credibility with the many sequential conveniences in its fifth issue. This isn’t helped by an arbitrary red herring group sown in the plot. Better examples of this concept can be found in the aforementioned Fables series or Telltale Games’ The Wolf Among Us episodic videogame series based on the same universe – which also stars a werewolf detective in a similar setting. There is even the Netflix animated mini-series Trese (2021) for a good reference.
In the future, writer Eric Palicki should comfortably lean into the powers and lore more readily and sharpen the detective aspects in future installments. I am still looking forward to seeing what new caper Strummer and Ben will solve next.
Hailing from the eastern-most Caribbean island of Barbados, Fabian Wood has long since been fascinated by the power of storytelling to inspire and invoke emotions – whether in film, comics or videogames. No longer content to be just an avid comic book reader and videogamer, he’s eager to exercise his literary acumen as an aspiring writer and reviewer.