Nicodemus Flynn – Monster Hunter
Nicodemus Flynn is a tough guy. Through this narrative we see him tackle demonic forces with his fists and a variety of weapons. He’s a member of a secret agency that tackles the supernatural horror that plagues the world. He’s a one-man army. And in this comic book written by Alex De-Gruchy and illustrated by Robin Simon Ng, he faces his toughest challenge yet.
Comic books regarding the supernatural have become rather cliched as of late, and I wondered, would this fare any better?
There’s an unseen world which hides in humanity’s shadows. Few are aware of the truth of the monsters which exist amongst us. One man understands their nature and strives to fight them at every turn. That man is Nicodemus Flynn. He has dedicated his life to that single purpose. An arrogant occultist has unleashed a force that he cannot control. An ancient demon called the Pariah. It is laying waste to the whole of the earth in order to return to the one who set it free. Nicodemus, along with several other hunters of the occult, must protect the madman occultist. In doing so, Nicodemus discovers that in order to defeat the beast, he may have to sacrifice his life. And he wonders, is that a cost worth paying?
Initially, the character doesn’t seem very interesting. We are introduced to him through a fairly standard action sequence which is predictable in its conclusion. It doesn’t serve to set the character apart from any other comic-book action hero. I never warmed to Nicodemus. He was without charisma, and I wished for a deeper backstory. Something to help me empathise with him or connect him to the environment which surrounded him. Conversely, this comes from the antagonist in the narrative. A mysterious, sword-wielding figure who would not be out of place in a Tarantino production. He has a definitive motive for his actions and his characterisation is stylish. We find far more out about him than about the protagonist; he steals each scene that he is present in.
The monster itself is hackneyed. It’s written as a typical, almost silent, brutish creature. There’s no menace or horrific dread attached to it. As such, it becomes a background creature whose purpose is to destroy and present an action-oriented threat. The background characters are also forgettable. They blend into the background with no clarity of motive or intrigue. As a reader, I wondered why they were there in the first place. The dialogue is consistent, and perhaps a little too verbose. A lot is said, but very little conveyed.
The art redeems the narrative somewhat. There’s nothing unique or to engross you in every panel. However, at times there are moments of style and flair. Again, the best of these moments are regarding the human antagonist. The artist has styled Nicodemus Flynn as an ’80s action hero, complete with white shirt (which never gets dirty) and jeans. The Pariah is similarly uninspiring in its character design and especially generic with a mixture of devilish horns and tail.
The lines are clean and the colour palette is appropriate. The action sequences convey a sense of detailed pace. It’s clear that with a little more narrative inspiration something interesting might have occurred.
This narrative seems like a missed opportunity. Too many cliches, not enough character exposition and a hackneyed environment. The industry is awash with similar story ideas which have been conveyed with more substance. Consequently, it is very difficult to recommend this title.
For more reviews by Dr .Chris McAuley, click here.
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