Review – Raven: Daughter of Darkness #1: Good or Evil?

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Raven, Daughter of Darkness #1 variant cover
Alien? Demon? Friend? Foe? Image copyright DC Comics

Raven: Daughter of Darkness #1 – Marv Wolfman, Writer; Pop Mhan, Artist; Lovern Kindzierski, Colorist

Ratings:

Ray – 7/10

Corrina: On the Mystical Side

WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW

Ray: Raven: Daughter of Darkness #1 kicks off a year-long engagement in which Marv Wolfman, Raven’s creator, also reintroduces one of his original characters – the mysterious Baron Winters, usually seen in the Night Force comic

The first Raven miniseries by Wolfman and Damion Scott was one of last year’s surprise hits from DC, giving the Teen Titans an appealing new supporting cast and a massive threat for her first solo adventure in years. It was also a relative sales hit and so we have another miniseries. Does it live up to the first miniseries? Well, it depends. This is a much more ambitious story, and some of the things surrounding the story don’t quite land but Raven’s story remains the most compelling part of the issue.

After a brief side story involving a mysterious alien escapee from a government lair, Baron Winter talks to his leopard, and apparently, he has his eyes on Raven – believing her a danger that needs to be destroyed. Raven doesn’t look very dangerous, though – she’s currently at a campout with her friends from school, where they share some interesting details about each other. Then she goes home to her surprisingly functional family. I’m glad that nothing has been used to disrupt that status quo yet because the contrast of this character who is normally associated with darkness being at the center of one of the healthiest family unites in the DCU is unique. I’m not sure about Baron Winters’ inclusion – we know he’s going to be proven wrong in the end, of course. The central plot, involving mysterious visions, and a strange escapee who is either a threat or needs Raven’s help, is intriguing. It’s kind of a slow start, but there’s a good central character and I’m hoping it builds momentum from here.

Raven Daughter of Darkness #1 page 5
Around the campfire. (Not the first campfire scene Wolfman has scripted.) image copyright DC Comics

Corrina: The first miniseries reestablished Raven’s place in this new DC world. I kinda miss the original Raven, who was a bit older and more mature but this Raven, always questioning who she is and what she might become, is the same person at her core. (And owes something, I think, to the popular television cartoon version of the Teen Titans.)

The scene around the campfire is lovely, a great mix of personalities, and I liked the dialogue as Raven finally revealed more of herself to the others. Intimacy is required form both sides to form bonds. (It also reminded me of some classic campfire scenes that took place in the original New Teen Titans.) The action sequence in the woods is well done, leading to the captive’s helmet capping, so to speak, and so is Raven’s dialogue as she takes on the guards after their escaping mutant/alien/demon.

For the art, Mhan has to be commended not only for making each teenager a slightly different body type but also for the nice contrast of shadow and light in the many action sequences. The ending reveal of the escaped alien’s face is also outstanding.

I’m not thrilled with the premise of Baron Winters setting up a plan to kill Raven but it’s clear that plan will not succeed, so I will be interested in smugness being destroyed. I am happy to see Winters back at all as the premise of Night Force was one of my favorites and it was never explored enough before it was canceled. (I almost hoped I was seeing the married supernatural detectives from the short-lived Vertigo series, Midnight. Mass. but then I remembered that series was creator-owned.)

This is a fine start. It gives readers the premise of the series, with Winters believing Raven is too powerful to live, a glimpse of Raven’s private life and why it’s important to her, and setting up an intriguing mystery with the alien.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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