New Orleans, 1918. As the World War enters its final year, a terrible menace walks the streets of the Big Easy - the Axe-Man! A couple who run a grocery and live in the apartment in the back of the shop, have one of their door panels cut open, and are found by their relatives hacked to death, the bedsheets soaked in blood! Thus begins a two year reign of terror in New Orleans as more victims pile up and the police are baffled as to how to catch the murderer.
Rick Geary produces another fantastic forgotten murder case from the early 20th century. He sets the scene, giving the background to the formation of New Orleans and jazz, and brings us up to date to the fateful year of 1918. He's a very methodical writer who tells the reader everything they need to know about the case. In nearly every attack the victims are Italian, run a grocery, have a panel of their door cut open by a chisel, and are attacked by an axe belonging to the victim in the early hours of the morning. Some survive, some don't. Each survivor can't describe the attacker and so the case continues until eventually the murders stop with the murderer not caught.
It's a fascinating case, not least because of the detail of the door panel. This is the entry point of the attacker and yet a door panel is so small, how could the person have fit through? Was he a homicidal small person? And how could a family continue sleeping when a chisel is working on the door? Geary goes through the various theories, some more tantalising than others: a Mafia hitman seems most plausible but he was of normal height and was probably guilty of one murder (maybe), and the only letter written to the papers by the Axe-Man has the killer claiming to be a demon from Hell.
Drawn compellingly in black and white, the art is eyecatching and serves the story well. Geary's written another brilliant book on a fascinating case where the reader can envelop themselves in a lost world through a fantastic true story and learn something of history at the same time. An excellent comic book, highly recommended.