Review: Black of Heart #3

Black of Heart reminds me of the Black Dahlia murder. It takes place in roughly the same era and deals with the murder of women, but the key difference is that in the case of Black of Heart there’s a serial killer and their identity is known to the reader. Each issue seems to crank the intensity, but also the magnitude of the killer’s sickness and this issue is no different. Because each issue is amped up more than the last you can’t help but be left on the edge of your seat. Our detectives discovered that their killer is posing as a taxi driver and picking up women that way. It’s clever especially because of the era it’s based in. What they don’t know is his identity or license plate number and since he’s just posing they’re no dispatch records to check or anything of the sort. The chief wants them to wrap the case up as quickly as possible because they need the win and that only adds to our struggling detectives headaches. They do know one thing, the killer is ramping up his attacks and if you know anything about serial killers then you know that it means they’re more likely to make a mistake.

Meanwhile our killer is already on the prowl. He attempts to pick up a woman, but when she says she’s waiting for her boyfriend he kicks her out of the taxi. He speeds away and nearly hits a cop. He gears up to shoot the officer, but clearly this flatfoot doesn’t know he should be on the lookout for suspicious cabbies and sends him on his way.

Black-of-Heart-#3-1The thing that’s great and aggravating about this story is that we know who the killer is and so does the detective. He just doesn’t know it. Events in this issue may drive the two together at a rapid pace which will be very interesting.

Chris Charlton is killing it on this story. His look at the serial killer is the most interesting because at times it does seem like he wants to be caught or that he’s so eager to kill that he’s becoming extremely sloppy. Either way it makes his character very believable.

Charlton’s dialogue is interesting. It’s realistic, but it’s almost too realistic. It gets to the point that the conversations at the police station are like a snapshot of a real police station in that era and it’s not always interesting to read. Still it’s impressive that it comes off that realistic so I’m not going to complain too much.

The aesthetics of this series comes from artist David Hollenbach. I would describe it as a digitally composited, but I could be wrong. It has picture esque qualities to it which makes the setting and era believable. Usually I’m not a fan of this style, but Hollenbach makes it work with this story and maybe it’s the plot that allows it to be successful.

There’s a lot of comics out this week and I mean a lot. Take a break from something on your pull list and give this indie comic a chance. It’s a grounded murder mystery with a classic serial killer twist. Particularly check it out if you have an obsession with the forties and want to take a trip back to an era in which cops went out drinking every night and always wore a hat.

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Black of Heart #3 Writer: Chris Charlton Artist: David Hollenbach Publisher: Assailant Comics Price: $4.99 Website: