You Need to Apologize: John Flood Vol 1 TPB (Review)
John Flood Volume 1 TPB
Written by: Justin Jordan
Illustrated by: Jorge Coelho
Colored by: Tamra Bonvillain
Released: March 21st, 2017
What if there were a killer on the loose for 25 years? What if he had been allowed to commit his crimes, unbridled, unchecked for 2-and-a-half decades? What if there were no one who could stop him because the standardization of a few repeatable behaviors that are the normal patterns put together to solve these kinds of crimes...just didn't exist?
What if you could never sleep? What if your mind were wired such that you were always awake? What if you had infinite time to learn an infinite number of skills?
Could you catch the killer? Would you be the only person who could catch the killer of 25 years? This is the scenario that John Flood will want you to explore.
John Flood is the story of a misbegotten soul, forced to remain awake at all times, who has become a Private Investigator of sorts. The one problem is that John cannot sleep, and the edges of reality and dreams are constantly blurring in and out. But Flood is closing in on a killer who has eluded capture for a quarter of a century. A killer who John believes was created by the same people that experimented on him. And so he recruits former police officer Alexander Berry to assist him, and sets out to solve a case that could be the death of him. No rest for the weary. The John Flood Volume 1 Trade paperback is a 160 page compendium that collects Boom! Studios' John Flood #1 - 6.
Coelho's art is very stylized; almost hyperstylized. Unfortunately, it is quite near that threshold where the degree of stylization starts to interfere with my interpretation of the book and its story-telling. It is very akin to what Tradd Moore has been doing over in the Marvel Universe on Ghost Rider, in a lot of cases, and that is a very acquired taste. One thing that I will give Coelho much props for is his panel layouts. There are very, very few standard panel layouts in this issue. There are a ton of off-kilter, overlapping, inset (and every other artistic adjective we can think of) panel layouts that really stands out as something discrete from the industry norm, and that is comendable. There is one 2-page layout that caused me to read the dialogue in the wrong order; an infrequent mistake, but an instance where the abnormal panel layouts work against themselves.
On story, Jordan is pretty solid here. The character of John Flood reminds me a lot of Monk in terms of his eccentricity. There is also that Monk-like trait of people around him having the sense that he does not care about anyone other than himself. But I get that Flood's reality is that he himself cannot consciously grasp through his partial dream-like haze that he does care about people. And when he does hit upon it, how he expresses himself could also be misconstrued. And in this manner, Jordan reveals some of the intricacies of this particular character study. While there is some meaty nuance to the character that is John Flood, he does not feel like a totally fleshed-out character.. He doesn't really go anywhere between Issues 1 through 6 in terms of character development. But what does happen is an interesting story full of the quirkiness that is John Flood, told with such intensity that it will be hard not to look away from the comic a few times while reading it through. Randall Tate is as evil a villain as any other big bad that has ever been told, and his presence effervesces a feeling of complete and utter terror and doom. While John Flood is a bit of a slow burn, the snappy dialogue keeps things relatively fresh. And once the action starts, hang on to a veritable roller-coaster as Jordan picks up the pace across a few gates, winding it up into a breakneck pace that is the trade's climax.
John Flood Volume 1 has a lot to like. And it goes out of its way to get in your headlights view and keep your attention. In a lot of ways it feels like a TV script. But outside of the setup and the basic plot, I'm not sure that I felt much that made this story stand out above all others. It's solid, but I cannot put my finger on anything remarkable, outside of some neat panel layouts. If crime noire is your thing, then this is right up your alley. Others may get varying mileage, but no one should be disappointed. John Flood is a neat little crime story set in a stylized art environment, with a few quirky nuances to the typical murder mystery setup. There is nothing wrong with the occasional eccentric detective, and John Flood is a welcome addition to that genre.