Story: Cullen Bunn
Art: Eman Casallos
What They Say:
The Red Death has sprung a dangerous trap, scattering our masked heroes through time. From the prehistoric era to the post-apocalyptic future, the Shadow, Green Hornet, Peter Cannon, Miss Fury, and others face dinosaurs, murderous masqueraders, and mutants! Along the way, they uncover the terrible truth about the Red Death.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
After the first three issues spent its time throwing us to different periods of time and collections of characters, events finally came together in the previous issue and the exploration of the Red Death across time was revealed. It’s an interesting idea and one that works well to tie these kinds of characters together across a larger storyline so that they do have common cause to work together. With it bringing them together and some of the interesting small talk that was there, it also shifted to the larger narrative and overall threat of someone like Red Death able to cause so much trouble in so many areas. Naturally, them all coming together is also the perfect opportunity to dispose of them all.
And that’s exactly what happened here, as the group as a whole – of which there are too many to keep track of – end up split across three different periods of time in smaller numbers. This does essentially dispose of them for the most part because as powerful as some of them are, they’re not exactly the types to just jump through time or other usual superhero shenanigans. What we do get are three interesting periods of time that aren’t quite normal. The first has the Green Llama and others thrown to a distant past, which means bare knuckle fighting with dinosaurs and eventually discovering a place where masks of both men and dinosaurs exists, which is certainly out of time. This arc is fun to watch simply because of the way Llama floats above everyone and has little to say until it’s actually important, leaving them out of the loop for most of it.
The second place brings a group lead by the Spider to a renaissance era castle where they discover that they’re in Prince Prospero’s place, right out of the Poe work. Having them transported to a re-enactment of the actual event is certainly interesting, especially as it delves into the story a bit with the plague that caused the death of so many and how it’s being reworked here – with everyone desperately trying to remember if they read that book. The last arc has a rather dark group heading to a future as we get characters that mostly have black in their name – plus Lady Satan. This somewhat near-future to use gives us New York City in ruins, overrun by zombies/diseased people, which puts the group on the run. It’s all straightforward material in terms of splitting up the groups, and as it sets off the second half of the series, it’s easy to imagine it’ll work this way for a couple of issues.
While this installment didn’t knock my socks off, it’s fun to see this cast split as they are and having to deal with different adventures in order to survive. Each of the areas are both familiar but different from what you’d expect, providing for some nice tweaks to keep you on your toes. What mostly sells this though is just the interactions and humor between some of the characters as it goes on. They spend most of their time trying to figure out where they are and then discovering they’re not alone, so it’s a familiar dialogue/fight/dialogue kind of setup. But it works and it has its charms that ties it together well, leaving you curious to see how they’ll actually get out of it since someone has to have a trick up their sleeves.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: August 12th, 2015