Raven: Daughter of Darkness #3 – Marv Wolfman, Writer; Pop Mhan, Artist; Lovern Kindzierski, Colorist
Ray – 7.5/10
Corrina: Raven the Healer
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Marv Wolfman’s new Raven: Daughter of Darkness maxiseries is one of the most ambitious books on the market, and that’s both a curse and a blessing. It manages to juggle three or four themes and plots in one issue, but I’m not sure that the plots it spotlights this issue are the series at its best. The issue opens with Raven up against Gray Ash, another mysterious “Faceless Girl” just like the late Azar from the first issue. These mysterious girls add a distinct horror vibe to the proceedings, but we still don’t know all that much about the villains creating them. Before Raven can resolve this plot, she figures out that she’s being watched by Baron Winter, and the comic’s most prominent voyeur finally enters the main narrative. She attempts to confront him – and winds up getting sucked through one of his mysterious portals and coming out in the year 1906, in San Francisco, just as the city has the most significant event in its history…
Raven dealing with the Earthquake of 1906 was not something I expected to see in this book, but it’s surprisingly compelling. Raven at her best is a very compassionate character, and the scenes where she helps individual people and tries to get them to pay it forward are the issue’s best. However, that’s soon over, and she’s sent back to confront Baron Winter. I know he’s an old favorite of Wolfman, who created him, but I just don’t find him interesting at all, and his cryptic hints about Raven’s past didn’t hold my interest either. We do find out who it seems the villain of this arc is – and it’s really the only suspect for any big Raven plotline, Trigon, unfortunately. It seems like this series is going to make him a much more evil figure than he’s ever been before. It’s the end of the issue before we get back to Raven’s friends and family, and I missed them this issue. This series has a lot on its mind, but it might be best when it’s pulling back and focusing on Raven’s life away from the demons.
Corrina: I loved the trip back to San Francisco in 1906 because it spotlighted Raven’s compassion, deliberately so, to contrast Baron Winter’s skepticism that Raven even has a good side. The reader just experienced Raven healing so many people and telling them to pay it forward, making Winters look even worse when he says there is little of her mother and much of her father in Raven. I like that the narrative makes Winter somewhat cowardly, while showcasing Raven’s courage.
It seems to me that the Gray Ash wants to kill Raven because she represents a solution to the genetic engineering of more brides for Trigon. (Be nice if they would ask for help instead…) and the scientists are the ones employed by Trigon to create proper brides. So, yes, it opens the door to Trigon’s return but it adds an extra layer with the scientists.
But it also opens the door to the return of Raven’s mother. I’d thought she was dead or left on Azar but, apparently, not. We’ll see if Baron Winter was right about her being a good influence.
Note: the art this issue was not only fantastic but it reminded me of some of George Perez’s best work on the original Titans. Those panels with Raven crawling out of the fireplace flames are terrific. (Raven seems slightly older than in her previous miniseries because of this art style, too. Not a complaint, only an observation.)
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.