Written by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray
Art by Phil Winslade
Release Date: July 25, 2012
Containing the first three issues of the creator-owned series The Monolith, this collection stands so well as a complete story I mistook it for an original graphic novel. I had not encountered this series and I’m so glad that it has resurfaced. Any sequential art by the remarkable Phil Winslade should be treasured.
Palmiotti and Gray tell a story that moves seamlessly from flashback to present day as a drug addict, Alice, discovers her late grandmother had a Jewish myth hidden in her basement. A variation on The Golem, The Monolith gives a voice and a heart to the beast, but tempers it with the ever-present danger of a creature that enforces morality. They show those who trapped The Monolith as agonizing over the decision but uncertain how to control what they had unleashed. The reader doesn’t always know who to side with and that is the strength of the tale.
Winslade’s art is gorgeous. His faces expressive, his action smooth. The full page spreads are particularly beautiful. Often these are images of The Monolith, but early in the book a simple street scene introduces us quickly to Alice’s world and a matched one later for her grandmother’s era.
Originally published by DC, this collection has been released through Image. I hope we see more of the series reprinted, though the middle arc featuring Batman will be lost to the back issue bins. Any book that gets a two-page introduction from Jim Steranko is doing something right.
The Verdict: 9.0/10
Keith is the co-host of the podcast We Talk Comics.