Storm Clouds Review: A Dark, Satirical Take On The Australian Way Of Life

When it comes to an interesting comic, I think an important factor is quirkiness. If the comic comes across as original and out there then it’s going to be the kind of story I want to read. This was the case with Ben Mitchell’s Storm Clouds series. Set in Australia, the neo-noir comic focuses on a man who struggles with anxiety and gets pulled into an investigation around a cult. Storm Clouds is the opening issue and it contains the kind of absurdist humour and dark themes that are sure to appeal to its audience. Mitchell sent a copy of the comic to The Comic Vault in exchange for an honest review.


The comic opens with a radio host summing up the exploits of a murder called the Party Killer. The man has been killing people in clubs across Sydney, gaining a cult following in the process. Officer Nadia Chino has been assigned to look into the murders. During a night out, Chino comes face to face with the Party Killer and recognising the tattoo of a storm cloud. This sets off a chain of events that brings Chino into contact with Detective Adrian Rose. Chino and Rose return to the former’s home, Bontown, to look for clues to the identity of the Party Killer.

“You’re cleaning up the streets, but the corruption’s in your head. I’m on a mission to see every cop dead! If you hide behind a badge, don’t pick a fight with this kid! I won’t quit ‘til I see a thousand dead pigs!”

Bontown is presented as a cultural wasteland, the kind of place where drugs and violence are seen as the norm. Chino is proud of her hometown, while Rose can’t help but look down on it. It creates an intriguing contrast between them, highlighting an age gap. Even in the face of danger, Chino is plucky and optimistic. Rose is far more grizzled and cynical, constantly complaining about feeling like a ‘dad’ in a town of kids.

A solid lead turns out to be a dead end and Rose is pulled in by his superiors. It’s revealed that a cult is to blame for the murders, which ties into an ongoing theme of the comic. Many of the characters are looking for something to fill a void in their life, whether it be with music, knowledge or love. Bontown has a cult-like aura that draws people towards it whether they’re aware of it or not.


The art of Storm Clouds is some of the most visually striking I’ve seen. The panels are simplistic, but facial expressions are detailed. The panels are arranged in a way that makes it easy to follow the story, while the shades of white, black and yellow keep your attention. It’s to Mitchell’s credit that he can craft a story with a mixture of simple and fine details.

There’s a strong Australian influence throughout the comic, ranging from the settings to the attitude of the characters. The humour really appealed to my Britishness, as it comes across as dry and sarcastic. There’s a sense that Mitchell is poking fun at the people he knew growing up and it makes Storm Clouds feel authentic.

Storm Clouds is a comic that balances dark satire with eye-catching art, which makes it worth reading. The issue is available to buy now.

For more information on the series, also check out Mitchell’s website.


Author: thecomicvault

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