"September Mourning: Volume 1" Trade Paperback Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Top Cow Productions / Image Comics
Written by Emily Lazar & Mariah McCourt
Illustrated by Sumeyye Kesgin
Colored by Betsy Gonia & Katarina Devic
2017, 52 Pages
Trade paperback published on June 21st, 2017
September Mourning is not dead, but she's not really alive either. She's somewhere in between thanks to a Reaper named Riven. Now she's got a weird tattoo on her neck and she's picking up souls of the recently deceased to help them move on to the afterlife by righting their wrongs. It's like a goth version of Dead Like Me.
On the surface, September Mourning sounds awesome. It has the elements to make for a cool battle between life and death with Fate looming as the big bad. In practice, it throws a lot of ideas against the wall and not many of them stick. The book rushes through the character's origin to get to the meat of the story, however it meanders in the middle, especially with the introduction of September's would-be watcher, Claire.
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We were just getting used to the title character's strange new status quo when we're suddenly thrown into this new background tale for Claire. It throws the pacing off. Once the two of them find each other, they jump immediately into reap-mode and start tracking down lost souls as if they're on season three of a supernatural police procedural.
This aspect of September Mourning is pretty cool and, if given more time, can build up to something very interesting. As it stands, the book feels rushed, like the creators are trying to cram as much as possible into the two chapters included here. Different ideas or characters are tossed in and out seemingly at random. At one point a reincarnated Confederate soldier pops up to distract a group of reapers for no apparent reason and then disappears. What was up with that guy?
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Sumeyye Kesgin's artwork fits the tone of the story well. The character designs say a lot about each person. September looks like a female Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz. While she has a heart, she's lost all of her memories. Claire is a typical misunderstood teenager with a beanie hat and fingerless gloves.
The standout characters in design are the reapers and Fate himself. The former look like a biker gang made of skeletons. The latter is an ancient force of evil, not unlike Sauron from The Lord of the Rings. He looks like he was carved from stone long ago. He's a suitable antagonist for September.
I'd love to see September Mourning expanded with more issues. I understand there's a tie-in to the band's albums, so maybe that's where the story continues. As a stand-alone comic, it is lacking. It has the right pieces, but they're not put together properly.