The United States of Murder Inc. #1
by Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Avon Oeming and Taki Soma
With Powers headed to live-action adaptation, the creative team decided that it was time to release their next project to the public. The United States of Murder, Inc is a brand new series from Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming. Fans of this team’s work are likely already thrilled to see another book being produced. What is even better is that their new book is pretty fantastic out of the gate.
Bendis, Oeming and colorist Taki Soma are sending a pretty distinct message with how they are introducing their new series to the world. The title, poses and coloring of the cover to issue one are effectively striking and what follows inside carries the same tone. The book’s title is not simply an allegory to the violent nature of the story. In reality, a fraction of the East Coast of the Unite States has been handed over to the mob. Readers are not provided any information about when this story is meant to take place, but it is clear through exchanges over the course of this issue that it has been some time since the landscape of the country. In this new world order, the mob have acquired their own territories and venturing outside them is not a choice just anyone can make.
Readers are introduced in the opening sequence to their protagonist, as he becomes a made man in the mob. Valentine Gallo is the son of a well-respected member of the mob under Don Bonavese and readers are present for the ceremony where he is made. It’s a scene drenched in shadows and deep colors and the mood it conveys is a bit unsettling. Soon after, Valentine receives his first job and he gets to leave the territories for the first time. He travels with a brief case to visit a senator and little else in the way of information is provided to him and the reader. Still, Valentine, along with his cousin Dino take the opportunity. From the time the two board the train the momentum and excitement of the first issue grows exponentially. It is incredibly effective, both in script and art as the entire team have an excellent handle on the pacing.
In this extra long first issue, readers are treated to some explosive climaxes and a fantastic tease of an ending. The book layers on the conspiracy and distrust, cloaking some of the facts of the world keeping readers as much in the dark as the story’s lead. Oeming’s art is enthralling. The stylization captured through his art, perspectives of the panels and the Soma’s coloring make for a really slick looking story.
Reading through The United States of Murder Inc. #1 feels as exciting as a Guy Ritchie or Edgar Wright film. Bendis, Oeming and Soma have certainly delivered.