Conceived as a transmedia dark culture project created by Emily Lazar and Top Cow’s Marc Silvestri, September Mourning spans through different media platforms, including rock music, comic books, and live concerts. Following a successful Kickstarter campaign, the first volume has been published, but considering the comic is essentially one piece of the overall story, does it manage to work as a standalone comic for new readers to enjoy?
Writer: Emily Lazar, Mariah McCourt
Artist: Sumeyye Kesgin
Publisher: Image Comics
Under the lordship of the otherworldly Fate, reapers are sent out to retrieve human souls; however, when one reaper denies his master, he gives his life to an unknown girl who becomes the human-reaper hybrid September as she navigates the world of the living and the world of the dead, with the need to give some human souls a second chance.
Having no prior knowledge of the project, all of this sounds very similar to the KISS comics and even the live concerts has Emily Lazar performing on stage as September, a la Hannah Montana.
As for the comic itself, which is a quick read as it only covers the first two issues, there is fun to be had with this mashup of superhero fiction and dark fantasy. Co-written by Lazar and Mariah McCourt, it does present some nice ideas in terms of Fate being a physical antagonist and interpreting the basic concept of the Grim Reaper, as well as a hero visualized as an all-white figure that has a contrasting motivation to the reapers.
Being only two issues, there is a lot of world-building crammed into this volume as they are playing the long game with numerous questions left hanging, such as who September was prior to becoming the hybrid, which somewhat makes you distant towards September as you never get her mindset. The narrative is primarily told through the perspective of Claire, who witnesses some supernatural things during a personal tragedy, which compels her to search for the unknown. She is the classic social outsider who has witty banter with September and it’ll be interesting to see how significant she’ll be in the future.
Given his comic’s history with titles such as Witchblade, you can see Marc Silvestri’s influence throughout, even though he’s only drawn one cover for the book. As for the interior work, Sumeyye Kesgin’s art is stylized but fits nicely in the dark fantasy, without going depressingly dark, thanks to the coloring by Besty Gonia and Katarina Devic.
Considering how ambitious this multimedia project is, September Mourning as a comic is a decent read, mixing superhero action with supernatural undertones.