Reviewing indie comics is a bit like having seen a UFO. You constantly want to tell people about this amazing thing you saw, but you know that doing so will not only result in confusion, but also strange looks from people just trying to ride in the elevator with you.
There is no greater example of this for me than when I try to explain why I love Decorum from Jonathan Hickman and Mike Huddleston. This book is amazing, absolutely amazing, and yet I hardly ever hear anyone talk about it. The storyline is brilliant and complex in the way that only Hickman can craft, and the art from Huddleston is some of the best on the market, and yet, when I bring it up to other indie readers, most of them confess to never hearing about it, let alone reading it.
Well that stops today. Issue 8 drops next week (although with the current Diamond situation who knows what day it’ll be in shops) so now is the perfect time to hype up this book a bit and get the rest of you talking about it.
So let’s dive in!
Here’s the blurb:
There are many assassins in the known universe. This is the story of the most well-mannered one. “You can get through a kill with bad manners, but it’s easier with good manners.”
Alright, that’s a little slim on the details, so allow me to elaborate a bit. The only combo I can use to describe Decorum is to take the Cowboy Bebop, Blade Runner, Firefly, and Battlestar Galactica, toss them in a blender, and out would come this beautiful sci-fi smoothie.
Set in a universe where corporations control everything, and blackmail people for the healthcare of their sick and dying relatives, a young delivery girl is soon snatched up into a world of assassins, killer robot religious extremists, and Inter-planetary politics. It’s bloody, violent, hilarious, and breathtaking all at once.
Hickman is at the top of his game in Decorum. It’s no surprise that the man who reinvigorated the X-men comics is so good at writing a book with such a large cast of characters, but just how well written it is still takes me by surprise each issue. I’ve become so used to team books basically devolving into a cast of characters who have nothing unique about their personalities just blathering identical sounding dialogue in a broken-up manner that when a book actually allows characters to have unique voices and distinct identities, I always comes as a pleasant shock.
Hickman’s characters feel real, and behave like real people. The world he has created here is one in which a giant bird can be one of the most feared assassins in the universe, and by god you will be terrified of her. That alone is worth the cover price, and it’s only a small part of the brilliant cast in this story.
And then, there is the art. Dear sweet baby Jesus, this is one of the best looking books on the shelves. Huddleston has created one of the most visually distinct and beautiful sci-fi universes ever put down on paper. Forget the story, forget the characters, forget the plot. Even if all of those were terrible (which, as I said, they are certainly not) the art in Decorum alone is reason enough to read it each week.
Each issue is broken up into chapters, and each chapter has a completely different and visually unique style which is the wonderful kind of visual shock imaginable. Many are the times that I have flipped a page in this book and had to literally stop reading just to take in the magnificent image suddenly presented to my eyes. It’s impossible to explain how visually interesting Decorum actually is. You just have to read it for yourself and see.
So stop sleeping on Decorum. One of the best writers in comics today, at the top of his game on a passion project, and some of the best art in comics today. Issue 1 is now available to read for free over at Image Comic’s website, so check it out and let me know what you think! And make sure to grab the first trade and issue 8 this week. If you like good comics, you need to read this book.
Until next time, stay safe!