Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Ragman #1 Review and **SPOILERS**



Looks Like He’s On the Rag

Writer: Ray Fawkes 
Artist: Inaki Miranda 
Colorist: Eva De La Cruz 
Letterer: Josh Reed 
Cover: Guillem March 
Cover Price: $2.99 
On Sale Date: October 11, 2017

**NON SPOILERS AND SCORE AT THE BOTTOM**

Okay, I’m sorry, but every time I see this title or hear it mentioned, I think of this cartoon:
Which is entirely unrelated to my review of Ragman #1, right here!


Explain It!

One wartime practice you don’t hear a lot about is the looting (and worse) by soldiers, particularly when they’re our soldiers. It’s sort of something we let go with a wink and a nod, considering these folks have put their lives on the line, ostensibly to secure our freedom or whatever. So if they want to grab a little trinket, some keepsake, or a work of priceless art—who are we to judge? The alternative is to have nothing at all from a territory occupied by the enemy. An examination of military history reveals plenty of looting, by all armies involved, with sometimes brutal results. Heirlooms are pilfered, ancient sites defiled so a scared teenager has some tangible proof that they ran the gauntlet and lived. It’s not pretty, but it’s a fact of life: to the victor belongs the spoils.
U.S. soldier Rory “Twig” Regan was part of a small squad that skulked out “somewhere in the Israeli Desert” to crack open a well-sealed tomb, assuming it would be loaded with doubloons and scepters and silks and probably a whole lot of dust. Unfortunately, inside the room, untouched by human hands for centuries, is some kind of stone container, inscribed on all sides with squiggly writing. It ain’t Arabic, I’ll tell you that much! It looks like they’ve chased down a pipe dream, and then they’re suddenly beset by a lot of glowy-eyed soldiers wielding automatic weapons! These guys take everyone out and then chuck a grenade to blow the whole thing to kingdom come—when a bunch of tattered rags surge from this erstwhile coffin and wrap themselves around Rory just before the big KABOOM! So he died, right? This is just the story about a bunch of soliders that died trying to get some magic rags. Well, that was simple. When does the new Inferior 5 series start again?
Wait…no, actually interspersed with the plight of the soldiers as described in the previous paragraph, we see Rory in present-day Gotham: going to group counseling for PTSD, hanging out with his worried dad at his junk shop “Rags ‘N Tatters,” and making nice with his best friend’s wife. It’s okay, though, because, Rory’s friend is one of the squad that got aced in the Israeli Desert. Also nagging at Rory is the fact that he spies some accusatory glowy-eyed people walking around in the streets, ones that go unseen by everyone else. He ruminates on this while looking over a box containing the rags somehow pilfered from Israel, when a voice tells him that these visions are real—then he is consumed by the rags entirely!
And I mean, you can guess what happens next. That’s my big gripe with this book. There’s a lot of build-up and teasing to a conclusion that we know is going to happen by the second page. Well, not the conclusion—which involves two other rag beings appearing to do rag battle with Rory, but the fact that he becomes Ragman, we knew this would happen. I guess the stage had to be set, but I really hope this six-issue arc isn’t so expanded that it crawls along. I’ve seen it happen before! As for the art, it’s terrific and well-suited to this kind of paranormal yarn. Heck, the visuals are stunning. The story feels a little drawn out. I’m going to give this one the benefit of the doubt and check out issue #2.


Bits and Pieces:

A telegraphed story and some nice artwork make for a pretty standard comic book. There's enough here to sustain interest to the next issue, but I do hope that this debut is suffering from "pilot episode syndrome" and it won't be as rote next month.

7.5/10
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2 comments:

  1. Five thousand times better than Underwinter. That's all that needed to be said about this book. Didn't love it, but at least it wasn't Underwinter.

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  2. For some reason, I've always seen Ragman as a sort of unnecessary character in the mainstream DCU. He's okay in small doses and the occasional team-up, but Ragman has never been able to sustain a regular series. I think maybe this is another character that would have benefitted from a Vertigo title. And not for nothin'. . .but isn't this about the 3rd or 4th origin retcon now? That in itself says something about the character.

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