Written by: David Hazan
Art by: Shane Connery Volk
Colours by: Luca Romano
Lettering by: Joamette Gil
Nottingham is yet another take on the Robin Hood story. Having been brought up in the shadow of Sherwood Forest I’ve heard a few versions in my time, so I’m pretty familiar with the source material.
That doesn’t help here though. Frankly, having any prior knowledge of the existing folk tale seems like a hindrance to whatever story they’re trying to tell here.
Almost immediately there’s a series of dead bodies, and not long after someone refers to men “thinking with their cocks”, so it is of course painfully ‘adult’. See also “fucking gingers”.
The schtick here is selling Hood and the Merry Men as some kind of cultish terrorists. The blurb talks about it being a hunt for a “serial killer with a penchant for tax collectors,” which is perhaps only upsetting for those who work for Inland Revenue.
They’ve been given masks that aren’t a million miles away from V for Vendetta, except with a big shit-eating grin that the artist is clearly much keener on drawing than any kind of details anywhere else.
I feel I need to talk about Lady Marian’s face. On one page there are three attempts made to draw her face that defy logic, giving the impression she’s both suffering from some kind of deformity and is also a shapeshifter. Consistency is not a thing here. The art goes from vague shapes in places to the occasional heavily detailed face, and many of the men appear to be hunchbacks.
Issue #2 opens with a flashback to the crusades, which doesn’t flesh out the story other than telling us that the Sheriff felt a bit bad about murdering folk. Then it’s a series of interviews, like a medieval police procedural, which takes up most of the issue. Sheriff Ev and Alan appear to be a shit detective agency at this stage. The word ‘Alan’ is shouted a lot, which amuses me. Alan. Alan. Al. Alan! Alan! ALAN!
Issue #3 begins with a quick trip from Nottingham to Kirklees Abbey, obviously (It’s near Brighouse, about 70 miles), and a bit more of the Sherrif’s back story via the medium of flashback. There’s a low logic fight between heavily armed sheriff’s men and some monks before they team up on an even lower logic whim. Then there’s yet more casting of the Merry Men as the villains of the piece, which is meant to be jarring and is, but not in a good way.
I’m not really sure who this is for. They’re using a classic folk tale as a mere setting for murder mystery/detective tale, with the sheriff as a hardboiled cop trying to hunt down the Merry Men. It’s a take, but it’s not one I found interesting. Throw in some inconsistent and at times baffling art and I can’t say this is one to watch. Or even glance at.