‘Joe Golem: Occult Detective - The Conjurors #1’ - Advance Comic Book Review

Our hero, Joe Golem, was left in a pretty tight spot when we left him at the end of the previous story arc, possibly dead at the bottom of the Drowning City (a parallel New York City half covered in water). In this new series, we pick up from exactly that moment, as we see more of his past life as a literal animated Golem whose sole goal was to destroy witches.

Now, more or less a human, Joe has been an occult detective for an aging warrior against the dark, occult forces that inhabit the Sunken City. His name is Mr. Church, and his life is also wavering on the brink. Joe has set out with Molly, a resourceful, clever young woman who grew up as a thief on the streets of the Drowning City, to find her mentor who was kidnapped by Dr. Cocteau. Now, Cocteau has his hands on the Pentajulum, an occult item that seems to be bringing back an Old God (Lovecraftian references abound in this noir series).

This first issue of the new story arc drops us right back into the mix.  With the drama this elevated, who knows how chaotic the rest of this series is going to get!

I love Molly. She doesn’t just sit back waiting to be rescued; Golden and Mignola give her a pretty great moment in this new first issue. And Mr. Church's selfish desires to control his helpers (past and present) by not being forthright with them seems to be catching up with him. While his ultimate goals are noteworthy, he’s perhaps finally realizing that he’s gone about it all in the wrong way and is faced with a pretty heavy moral conundrum.

It’s really cool to see some of these story threads built up over the last couple of volumes coming to fruition now in this newest arc. I think these next few months are going to be pretty momentous in the world of Joe Golem.

This is a smart series with pretty grounded stakes, even though the world and story elements are fantastical. The characters feel real; they’ve dealt with real-world issues along with the more occult developments. If you’re a lover of horror and/or noir, this is definitely a series for you. If you miss Hellboy, this is definitely a great series to start reading. The use of mythology and dark magic have been built and explored in some pretty great ways. It feels like a serial radio drama. Now, if only I could get Alec Baldwin to read this to me!

Creative Team: Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden (writer, creator), Peter Bergting (artist), Michelle Madsen (colors), Dave Palumbo (cover art)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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