Ragman #5 – Ray Fawkes, Writer; Inaki Miranda, Artist; Eva De La Cruz, Colorist
Ray – 3/10
Corrina: A Mess
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: My issues with this take on Ragman have been well known by now, but Ragman #5, the penultimate issue, drives home the overarching problem with the structure – it’s just too busy. This isn’t really a story about Ragman at all, but a story about some guy calling himself Ragman that gets caught up in a multi-pronged demon battle before we even get to know him. Even the fact that one of my favorite DC obscure characters shows up again can’t really save it for me. At the start of the issue, Ragman is fighting to protect and exorcise the demon-possessed son of his former brother-in-arms, as Etrigan leads an army of possessed civilians against the house where he’s hiding out. However, before he can attack the house he’s opposed by someone who’s known him and fought him a lot longer than anyone else – Sir Ystin, aka Shining Knight from Seven Soldiers and Demon Knights.
I let out a big grin when I saw Ystin show up – depending on which take you’re going on, they’re either one of DC’s first genderqueer or trans heroes, and they had a fascinating storyarc in Demon Knights. But here, they’re mainly here to be the sole decent person in a mess of fighting demons. Ragman and Etrigan face off, but before that can be settled, another, more powerful demon shows up to claim the rags, and the enemies are briefly forced to join forces. This demon, much like the villain in Etrigan’s own miniseries, is mainly a stock enemy mostly defined by appearance rather than characterization, so the final showdown lacks any impact and the action is often rather muddled. The cliffhanger would have a lot more punch if we had been given any reason to care about this version of Ragman before, but alas.
Corrina: Separately, all of the elements of Ragman #5 hold some promise. But together, they seem like so many disparate problems tossed against the wall or put into a blender. (Pick your metaphor.) What comes out in the story is a muddled mess.
Ystin, if they were that important, should have been shown sooner than issue #5. Etrigan rhymes quite a bit but little of his dialogue with the other demon is interesting, it all boils down to “I’ll stop you,” “No, you won’t.” Rory is still clueless as to how to use the cursed cloak and then he makes a deal with the demon, which seems doomed to fail. Hopefully, it could be a fakeout and it’s possible that Rory has a plan but given how this series has gone so far, I’m not so sure.
Wish I could recommend the series. Fawkes is normally an excellent writer. Miranda’s art works well for horror. But this is certainly not Fawkes’ best work.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.