The third iteration of Joe Golem: Occult Detective takes on the name of its location: The Drowning City, because it’s a place that we should know. Lower Manhattan has been changed drastically; water has flooded every street, and we have no idea what could come from around the next corner. One recognizable element Joe Golem does keep is the hard-boiled film noir element that is so often tied to New York City. Like much of the rest of the Mignolaverse, dark arts are being practiced in all of the shadows. In this instance, the shadows are underwater, a submarine to be specific.
The second issue follows Joe as he hunts for any clues he might find to where the missing Felix Orlov, a psychic medium, has been taken. Meanwhile, Mr. Church is questioning Felix’s sharp assistant, Molly McHugh, to drum up any information he might be able to, but Molly manages to get more out of Mr. Church than anyone else has. Over the course of the second iteration and into this third, I’ve had reservations about Mr. Church. He seems to be fighting the good fight against the occult, but at the cost of Joe’s personal life and happiness. For now, the symbiotic relationship is working out for the most part; Church is the brains, Joe is the feet on the pavement.
I’m really enjoying this book, and I really love this world. I’ve only just recently read all of Hellboy ,thanks to the release of the Omnibuses, and between that and this series, my appreciation for Mike Mignola’s work – his creative ingenuity and mastery of the comic book form – has expanded tenfold. He gets the genre he works in, and he rises above it every step of the way. Christopher Golden is proving an excellent co-writer. Many times, when someone steps in to write with a person who has already done exceptional work, that original person’s voice can become muddled, and the things they excel at can be lost, but that’s not the case with this pairing. Their creative voices are in sync, giving us a serial adventure that’s captivating and, at times, emotionally involving.
Peter Bergting’s art and Michelle Madsen’s colors recapture the filmic mood of the previous volumes, bringing this world to vivid life once again.
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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