Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Maxim Šimić
Colorist: John Kalisz
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Cover Artists: Christian Alamy & Brad Anderson
Release Date: June 7, 2023
Thanks to the mayor, relatives of the killers in Owen Fincher’s files are protected in Midtown Manhattan’s Knickerbocker Hotel. But are they safe, or–as New York detectives Dario Azzaro and Maria Diaz fear–have they allowed the serial killer to kill them all at once? And what’s going on at Pennsylvania State Prison, which Dario visited in the last issue? Let’s climb into Blood Tree #5 and find out!
Noting Dario’s recent visit, prison officials call him about mysterious deaths. He’s perplexed, as Fincher’s M.O. is to affix angel wings on his intended victims. Fans of the 2006 movie Casino Royale will smile when Dario discovers how the serial killer helped usher the murderers’ family members into Heaven. In New York City, the Police Commissioner reassigns many officers stationed at the Knickerbocker Hotel. Fincher has struck elsewhere! Then the hotel lobby lights go out, and chaos breaks loose.
I missed seeing Dario’s family in this issue and was surprised Peter J. Tomasi didn’t build on the last issue’s revelation. Still, events move quickly in Blood Tree #5, and New York’s finest struggle to respond to Fincher’s new tactics. Instead of curing Humanity of its murderous instincts by surgically removing the infected tissue, Fincher’s opted for the final cure: a massive dose of chemotherapy. Or, in other words, bring about Armageddon.
Artist Maxim Šimić fills scenes with affecting characters and filled-in backgrounds. He draws buildings, automobiles, and landscapes with charm. The incident at the Empire State Building is breathtaking and heartbreaking. While most pages sport numerous panels, a rare one-page scene in which Dario rushes to his partner’s aid charges you with motion, energy, and the detective’s loyalty to his partner. Colorist John Kalisz enlivens prison scenes with textured grays, earth tones, and pastels in Blood Tree #5. He contrasts Fincher’s face—illuminated in the darkness by his computer screen—with the sunset glow hitting the Empire State Building. Interior lights create stark shadows in the Knickerbocker Hotel, while a notable glow illumines the colorful, historic building.
Small black uppercase letters fill white dialogue balloons in Blood Tree #5. Large white uppercase letters in black fields alert us to scene changes. Musical notes alert us when Dario sings a popular 1970s hit. Sound effects accompany Dario’s brainwave at Pennsylvania State Prison, accentuate the impact of falling bodies, and help us feel the climactic battle.
Murder and mayhem abound as Blood Tree #5 hurtles toward a breathtaking cliffhanger. Partners in Crime Tomasi and Šimić remind us of the difficulties police face in protecting the innocent and preventing people from hurting others. New Yorkers should lock their doors and stay in their homes until this emergency is over.