Home > DC Comics > The Monolith #2

The Monolith #2

February 28, 2004

Quick Rating: Good
Title: Down in a Hole (Heart of Stone Part Two)

Princeton wants Alice and Tilt – and more secrets of the past are unearthed.

Writers: Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray
Art: Phil Winslade
Colors: Chris Chuckry
Letters: Phil Balsman
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Cover Art: Phil Winslade
Publisher: DC Comics

Last issue Alice Cohen inherited the dusty old home of her grandmother only to learn that a creature, a powerful Golem, was walled up in the basement. This issue, she reads more of her grandmother’s diary, unearthing more of this fantastic creature’s origin. What she doesn’t know is that her drug dealer Princeton is after her and her best friend, Tilt, and he’s not coming for a friendly visit.

This is a good issue, but not as good as last month’s premiere. We open up with some scenes from the early career of the Monolith, which lets us know how his life really began, but doesn’t give us a tremendous amount of insight. The same goes for the present-day sequences. Last issue the thugs from Alice’s past resolved to go after her, and this issue they do so. It advances the plot, but not as much as one would like, and it’s hard to resist the temptation to compare this to the “decompressed” storytelling we see in books like Ultimate Spider-Man.

The characters are very interesting — Alice is by no means a standard protagonist for a superhero title, and the existence of the creature has the potential to make the most original superhero comic book in a very long time. It just feels like it’s taking us quite some time to get there, and I hope that the book manages to hold its readers long enough to reach the payoff.

Phil Winslade is great for this book. Alice has a look unlike pretty much any other character in comics, although if she doesn’t change those distinctive clothes of hers pretty soon they’re going to get kind of ripe. Visually, every scene works well, from the Golem’s eyes glowing in the shadows to Alice getting sick in the kitchen as she suffers withdrawl symptoms.

It’s also a brave choice to make our star a junkie going through withdrawl. While that’s not even a little unique in fiction, or even in comic books, it gives this book a real feel of someone who’s at the end of her rope, struggling to pull things together, and finding a giant man made of clay inhabited by the soul of her dead grandmother’s lover walled up in her basement doesn’t make things easier on her.

This is really an unusual title for DC Comics, and it’s one I find I’m quite interested in. It’ll be interesting to see if it can keep its momentum going.

Rating: 7/10

[2012 Note: The book did, most certainly, find its stride, and although it only lasted 12 issues, it’s one of those books that has gone down as an under appreciated classic. Image Comics is producing a hardcover of the first four issues, currently available for preorder. Go. Preorder it.]

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