If reading Mad Robot Comics titles has taught me anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. The multi-artist format of Cadavers: World Gone To Hell highlights its unpredictable narrative of supernatural beings having their world exploited by an immortal killing machine and a corrupt politician. Its preceding trio of issues laid the foundations of the comic’s wider ambitions. One of the small press’ earliest comics shows that that sense of murderous humour has been apparent since the very beginning with this second edition of their full length graphic novel Murder Most Mundane. Artist Clive Bint, colourist Edward Bentley, letterer Rob Jones and writers Ash Deadman and Matthew Hardy congeal their talents together into a murky, mirth-ridden send-up of British detective dramas that packs in an unexpected twist. Like all good detective dramas, you’re guaranteed to not see this particular twist coming.
Murder Most Mundane wears its influences firmly on its sleeve. Framing the drama of the story like a mixture between The League of Gentlemen and Midsomer Murders, Detective Inspector Rutherford is perplexed by not only a spate of murders unfolding one by one in the tranquil village of Fadfield, but also by the resident’s overly passive reaction to this murder spree, spiraling out of control. What really brings this atmosphere to life is the artistic powerhouse of Bint and Bentley. Bint’s sharp eye for grotesque detail and Bentley’s seedy colours make for a visually taught, arresting style that highlights the off-kilter feel about the comic. Throughout the story, you’re struck by the sensation that something isn’t quite right in this strange little village, a feeling fantastically executed in the duo’s visuals.
There’s a sickening playfulness to Bint and Bentley’s aesthetic. Character’s eyes bulge as if they’re about to pop out. The colours are purposefully morose, stretching little further than a swampish mixture of browns, greys, greens and blacks. Deadman and Hardy’s sly, witty script gives this otherwise grim approach to the artwork a jocular vibe, making Murder Most Mundane a gleefully sadistic murder mystery that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Only in the comic’s final act does the twist that brings the mystery to a revelatory close does the seriousness take hold.
It’s here that a tonal shift splits Murder Most Mundane in half. It’s difficult to talk about how the twist impacts this change in tone without spoiling the comic, but suffice to say, it does what all good murder mysteries should do and alter your entire perspective of the preceding story. What began as a simple yet effective creeping, folk horror mystery becomes something rather… otherworldly. If you’ve read Mad Robot Comics other titles, this tonal shift is an enjoyably characteristic move on their part, but newer readers are likely to be entirely dumbfounded by what’s revealed.
Murder Most Mundane is a freakish, tongue-in-cheek affair. The grimy aesthetic and parodies of rural lifestyles undisturbed by outside society gives it a humurous edge, but its climax makes the comic positively head-spinning. Once you’ve read Murder Most Mundane, it’s highly recommended you read The Hanged Man, a concertina publication set within the world of Murder Most Mundane that expands upon key events in the story. Standing on its own though, Murder Most Mundane shan’t disappoint those looking for something with an unpredictable twist.
You can discover more about Murder Most Mundane from Mad Robot Comics and Comichaus. Have you already been delighted/terrified by their comics? Let us know in the comments section below or send us a Tweet!