Ragman #4 cover

Review – Ragman #4: Damn That Etrigan

Comic Books DC This Week
Ragman #4 cover
Demons, demons, everywhere. Image copyright DC Comics

Ragman #4 – Ray Fawkes, Writer; Inaki Miranda, Artist; Eva De La Cruz, Colorist


Ray – 1/10

Corrina: Just When It Might Have Gotten Interesting

Ray: Ragman has not been to my taste since the start, replacing the themes of redemption and justice from the original Ragman with a generic monstrous cloak with shades of Venom, and a horror plot that’s right out of Redbox. But Ragman #4 heads over that line and turns a concept that was used to empower Jewish readers since his post-Crisis on Infinite Earths Jewish origin, into something genuinely antithetical to that. The reveal this issue that the rags come from a demonic realm is bad enough, but to show them wrapped around a soldier in the Crusades is what really rubbed me the wrong way. Sure, Rory Regan (this version) is still ostensibly Jewish, but it doesn’t inform his character. He’s just a hapless loser and petty criminal who stumbled upon them while grave-robbing, and as such he’s not Ragman at all.

There’s a plot in this comic, of course, and it pretty much continues the narrative from the first three issues. Ragman fights generic shadow monsters. One of his friends from the military has been transformed into their monstrous leader and lurks in the background. Etrigan makes his second appearance in a supernatural comic that doesn’t work as well as his own this week, and mostly hangs out behind Ragman and makes comments about how badly he’s doing. Then there’s the ending of the issue, where Ragman tries to save the wife and child of the military partner who’s trapped in the rags with him. The issue ends with a mildly creepy visual (albeit one that feels copied from every horror movie out there). But nothing can save a comic that so grossly misses the central point of its lead character.

Ragman #4 interior art
A splash page full of horror. Image copyright DC Comics

Corrina: See the art above? There’s a lot of that in this issue. There is also a lot of rhyming from Etrigan (mildly amusing), a lot of angst from Rory and the soldiers trapped inside the rags (not really interesting) and a family that Ragman cares about attacked by the demons (predictable), plus a little boy evil Demon at the end (cliche.)

I’m not sure what this is. It’s not pre-Crisis Ragman, where Rory Reagan was an Irish-American whose father ran a junk shop and who was transformed by a bolt of lightning that killed his friends. It’s not Ray’s Ragman, either.

Sadly, whatever it is, it’s not a good story. Fawkes has done much better work than this.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes. 

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