Story: Ray Fawkes
Art: Inaki Miranda
Colors: Eva de la Cruz
Letterer: Josh Reed
What They Say:
Having seen the horrors waiting to break into our world, Ragman decides to join forces with Etrigan in order to stop them. But as Etrigan takes Ragman under his wing, the souls of Ragman’s friends grow wary, fearing there may be more to Etrigan’s actions. And when Ragman’s attempts to stop the demons lead them to pursue a more personal target, Ragman must figure out whom to trust before all is lost!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The first three issues of Ragman definitely worked well for me with what it did as Ray Fawkes brought the classic character into the Rebirth world. Ragman’s always been a fringe Gotham character that I’ve enjoyed since it delved into the horror and supernatural side. And with Fawkes doing such great work on Gotham by Midnight this was a given for me. Pairing with Inaki Miranda just pushed me over the edge with ease as even when the book is a little simple and less than memorable in terms of story, like this one, it looks absolutely beautiful and is just fun and engaging to page through, panel by panel, and take in all the little details that makes it so rich.
Ragman has a kind of low-key installment here for the most part but it’s an important one overall. Rory’s getting better at handling the suit and what it entails thanks to Etrigan showing him things but the voices inside are cautioning him heavily about trusting the demon. And that’s easy and understandable and you know Rory isn’t really trusting him. But he is learning from him and while there may be secrets not revealed there’s something to be said for gaining a better understanding of one’s abilities. And we know that Etrigan is a kind of complicated character so you don’t outright classify him as a villain, for the most part. Watching as Rory works his abilities is definitely engaging to watch, especially with Miranda’s artwork as it’s just so detailed and dynamic, that it makes even simple scenes like standing around in the alley in the rain stand out against so many other books in a big way.
With two issues to go after this, Ragman is setting up for the final battle as we see the other side seeding its forces out there and getting a little more history overall on the cloak that Rory is wearing to understand its importance and connections. All of that serves to get Rory to realize that they’d be going after key people in order to get the cloak back and that means Frank’s family, which sets the voice/soul within the cloak on overdrive in trying to get there to save them. There’s a lot to like in how this unfolds, from the layouts and designs of the history two-page spread to some of the more manga-like aspects of how Rory is wearing the cloak and reaching out into the city. What gets me is that we get so many really great angles that are utilized here to showcase the action that it moves everything with a wonderful fluidity, taking a simple scene of moving across the city and giving it incredible energy.
The horror elements of this series are being handled well and there’s a part of me that wishes that this was being done as a black and white book, ala the horror manga that I’ve read over the years, to give it more power. But what we get here is so powerful with the fantastic color work that’s done that it just elevates everything. The story here is fairly simple for this issue in that Rory learns more about his abilities and we see how the other side is going to use the obvious to try and reclaim the cloak but it doesn’t minimize the impact of it all as we move through those final pages. It sets up the next two issues very well but it succeeds more than it should because of the absolutely top notch artwork that we get here. I cannot recommend it enough just for that but you’re getting a solidly entertaining story as well with a great character.
Age Rating: 17+
Released By: DC Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: January 10th, 2018