Celebrating Heavy Metal and Why it Means so Much to its Fans in MURDER FALCON #7 (Review)
Writers: Daniel Warren Johnson
Artists: Daniel Warren Johnson, Mike Spencer
Covers: Daniel Warren Johnson, Mike Spencer, Erica Henderson
Publisher: Image Comics
Every song that you hear on the radio has to do with love. Either it’s about being in love, falling out of love, longing to find someone to be in love with or simply bragging about how many lovers one has had. Pop music is obsessed with relationships and being accepted. It’s pretty much codependent music for those with the need to find somebody to make themselves feel better about their self-worth. Wishy washy processed tunes served to those longing for outside approval. Heavy Metal on the other hand, is a music for individuals. It’s for those who can stand on their own, for those who don’t have the need to conform to social acceptance. It’s empowering music for outcasts that gives them self-assurance and confidence, no matter how quirky or different they are. Heavy Metal is a community of outcasts who find comradery with their fellow fans. Like minded people who understand each other and their personal freedoms through the love of the music. Murder Falcon is a comic book that celebrates Metal music and how much it means to its fans.
On the surface, Murder Falcon sounds campy and outrageous. A mutant falcon monster with a robot arm named Murf, fights demons from another dimension with the aid of Heavy Metal music providing him with the power to slay the hellish beasts. This comic may sound weird but it also has a ton of heart and dramatic weight that grounds the story and making it a fun and compelling read.
The main protagonist is Jake, a metal head guitarist who was diagnosed with cancer and forced to quit his metal band Brooticus. The terminal illness left Jake depressed, isolating himself from his family and friends. But when the world is invaded by Magnum Khaos, a demon from the depths of hell and starts wreaking havoc, Jake is chosen by Murf, the Murder Falcon to aid him in battling the demons. Murf gets his power from Heavy Metal as it happens to be the most powerful kind of music, and encourages Jake to pick up the guitar and start rocking again. Jake and his band Brooticus get back together and they face off against Magnum Khaos.
This new issue picks up after Brooticus has lost a major fight with the demons. Jake and Murf are both injured and Magnum Kahos and his minions are beginning to invade the Earth. Brooticus is then rescued by a Japanese violinist named Shohei who takes them to Tokyo to regroup. While Jake is unconscious, Magnum Khaos invades his mind and tries to fill him with self-doubt in hopes of making him surrender. However, Murf and Metal has given Jake a new lease on life and he returns for the final battle. Teaming up with a full Japanese orchestra, Brooticus plays an over the top performance which probably sounded like a symphonic metal acts like Rhapsody, Nightwish, Kamelot, or Blind Guardian. The grandiose jam session stirs up the power to summon giant metal warriors to fight the demons in an epic Kaiju battle.
The story is a fun entertaining throwback to campy monster movies. Demons, zombies, and inter dimensional creatures seeking world dominance is very metal and the book is full of references that hardcore metal fans would get. Daniel Warren Johnson has crafted a wildly fun tale while grounding it with heavy dramatic action and depth that makes the audience really feel for the characters. Jake has such a tragic story arc, yet it manages to be uplifting as the story also highlights how his illness affected those around him and how they all came together in support. Murder Falcon has taken such a preposterous and far-fetched concept and turned it into an extravagant celebration of the soul.
The art in Murder Falcon is bright, flashy and over the top. It totally reflects the larger than life attitude that comes with Heavy Metal. The art style captures the epic scope of the battles and the panels are composed with over exaggerated detail. The book also manages to embody metal music and the power it has. Being able to convey sound through a 2-dimensional medium is an amazing feat in itself.
Murder Falcon manages to celebrate Heavy Metal and why it means so much to its fans. Through Jake’s journey, it highlights how metal can be an empowering and encouraging force. Despite its scary imagery and taboo subject matter, Metal can be a cathartic release to the fans who love it. Metal is meant to uplift its listeners and make them feel better about themselves. Metal fans know better than most, that you can’t judge a book by its cover, that you have to dig deeper to find the truth in things. And like a metal album, Murder Falcon is a perfect reflection of that idea. A tale about a monster birdman with a robot arm fighting demons from hell might sound off putting to some, but at its core, it a heart-warming story about endurance and perseverance.
Murder Falcon manages to celebrate Heavy Metal and why it means so much to its fans.