Night Screams for Mercy (Review)

Review by Jonathan Camilleri

Story by Hannu Kesola
Cover & interior art by Jussi
Publisher: Short, Scary Tales Publications

“IT IS THE YEAR 1972. A SAVAGE MURDERER KEEPS A WESTERN ITALIAN CITY IN TERROR. EVERY MORNING A NEW SLASHED BODY IS FOUND. AN EXPERIENCED DETECTIVE, CLAUDIO MORANTE, STARTS TO INVESTIGATE THE CASE, WHICH TURNS OUT TO BE MORE DIFFICULT THAN EXPECTED. WILL HE BE ABLE TO STOP THE KILLER IN TIME, WHEN THE NIGHT SCREAMS FOR MERCY?”

I must admit that I myself am morbidly fascinated by the perverse, the corrupt and the violated, not to mention the gory, the pseudo-sexual and the decedent. And with that semi-useless piece of information, I shall jump straight into this review.

Thankfully, the creators of this comic book do not waste time idling in setting up the story, but rather deliver us with the full blow on the first two or three pages. Having purposefully not read a synopsis beforehand, barely even reading the title, I felt like I was slapped in the face with a dead fish. Immediately the reader is faced with the vivid imagery of a dead woman nailed to a church door. This is where it gets confusing. This is the fourth page of this damn good piece of work, and I felt baffled by the validity and morose beauty and inherent sexual quality of the depiction. Highly sexual, highly elegant, yet highly decadent and filthy. I’m beginning to like this mix.

I won’t give away too much of the story, but I’d like to caution extreme care in the reading of this comic, because what I first thought to be useless pauses throughout it, even asking myself how much sleep the main character needs, or asking why I give a damn whether he smells rats or doesn’t, it all ties up in the end. So here’s a nod to the authors. Kudos.
I could also sense the Italian arrogance typical in this style/genre. Smokey, arrogant, slightly vulgar and all in all, sleazy. That’s how I would describe the tone of the interpersonal relationships between the characters. The main theme of this comic, I would say, is jealousy, something which goes very well with the genre and the overall artistic style.

The conclusion was, maybe, a little hasty, but it didn’t affect my impression negatively. It left me asking a ‘now what?’. And the answer, I discovered, was ‘that’s it’. Death comes for us all, sometimes maybe better sooner than later. The question is not ‘when’ but ‘how’…

In conclusion, the comic book reminds me of the Game of Thrones line “the night is dark and full of terrors”, especially when protector becomes to perpetrator, defender becomes nightmare, and when humans show the downside to having a beautiful and powerful, yet fragile and perpetually weak mind. When reality becomes a nightmare, screaming for mercy is all that remains, that is, if you have time to scream.

This Graphic novel is published by British SST Publications and can be found here:
https://www.sstpublications.co.uk/Night-Screams-for-Mercy.php

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