Let me just say that I love Chap Taylor’s concept behind Aspen Comics’ Haunted City. The story centers around Tom Whalen, a hard-nosed New York City detective who is under investigation by internal affairs and has gotten himself mixed up with a bad-ass drug dealer named Vic Cerebus.
While this might seem like your run-of-the-mill detective crime story, Taylor’s concept adds a supernatural twist——he injects the ghosts, ghouls and goblins that have haunted the dreams and nightmares of the millions of souls that have passed through New York City over the last four hundred years.
Anyone who has walked the dark, dingy backstreets of New York, Boston, Philadelphia or New Orleans at night knows just exactly what Taylor is talking about. You can almost feel a presence, an aura pulsing from an old building or dark alley. Take a haunted tour of one of these cities and you’ll hear some very interesting back stories. Personally, I think older cities feel alive not only because of the living, but also the energy signature left by those from the past.
In Haunted City #2, it’s 1975 and the city is ready to boil over amid racial tension after the abduction and apparent ritual murder of two young black girls. Sergeant “Iron” Mike Whalen and his partner Officer Walter Rudd are among the New York City Police commanded to restore order at any cost. What connection do the murders have with the Hoodoo man?
Artist Michael Ryan, with color work by Kelsey Shannon, Peter Steigerwald and Beth Sotelo have done a fantastic job at capturing the Lindsey-era streets of New York. The NYPD uniforms are right out of the movie the French Connection.
Flash forward to the present day: Detective Tom Whalen is in a world of trouble. The son of the decorated NYPD Officer Mike Whalen, he’s been suspended, is being investigated and has gotten involved with drug dealers that also happen to be werewolves. These aren’t your friendly neighborhood-type werewolves out of Twilight. These are your saliva-dripping, junkyard dog variety. They are reminiscent of the werewolves in Underworld or John Landis’s 1981 American Werewolf in London.
Needless to say, things do not look good for Whalen. On top of all this, the Irish death goddess Morrigan is stalking the city’s innocent children. When you combine all these elements you have a terrific, compelling story.
The artwork is top notch, too. I’m very interested in how this series will progress and what future stories Taylor and company have in store for us.
The issue features two direct edition variant covers, one with a kickass, jacked up werewolf attacking Whalen by Michael Ryan and Peter Steigerwald and a second with a mysterious circle of Hoodoo practioners by Alex Konat and Steigerwald. There’s also a menacing werewolf for the retailer incentive edition drawn by Micah Gunnell and Steigerwald