Raven: Daughter of Darkness #4 – Marv Wolfman, Writer; Pop Mhan, Artist; Lovern Kindzierski, Colorist
Ray – 7.5/10
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Marv Wolfman’s Raven maxiseries continues to unfold slowly in Raven: Daughter of Darkness #4, unraveling its mystery as Raven figures out that her family’s secrets are coming back to haunt her. The issue nicely balances the Roth family drama with an ongoing horror-influenced plot involving the creepy faceless children with ties to Raven’s origins that are stalking her and her family. As the issue opens, these inhuman creatures are breaking out of a lab, brutally taking out the guards in the process. Meanwhile, Raven has been helping her friend grieve the loss of her grandmother, only for the wake to be interrupted by the return of Raven’s mother Angela. Angela’s role in Raven’s origin has always been slightly glossed over, as Raven’s connection to Trigon is emphasized. However, here it becomes clear that her relationship with the rest of her family is strained at best, and she views Raven as being a victim of them the same way she sees herself.
Her arguments sort of fall flat – she resented her family’s religious nature, so she views them as indoctrinating Raven against her will, while Raven actually seems to find comfort in the family’s structure and firm beliefs (unlike Angela, she never had those growing up) even if she’s not fully a believer. It’s an interesting, nuanced take on dysfunctional families, although I kind of wish Angela’s side of the story was a little more believable. She largely comes off as shrill and even cruel towards her daughter when she insists on pulling her out of the only functional home she’s ever known. The overall plot is still very vague, and Baron Winters only seems to be hanging around as a way for Wolfman to tie two of his favorite creations together. However, as long as Raven remains a compelling lead character and her family dramas remain the focus, I’m going to keep enjoying this series.
Corrina: The heart of this issue is supposed to be the mother-daughter relationship between Raven and Angela except, for the most part, it reads off.
One, showing up at the funeral of the mother of a close friend of your daughter’s is a bad idea, Angela, and makes you seem like a terrible person. Well, maybe she is a terrible person because we find out through Raven’s examination of her mother’s memories that Angela was, well, pretty much awful no matter how much people cared about. her. Yet Raven’s response to this litany of memories is to feel sorry for her mother. I suspect it’s because Angela’s acting out never made her happy but, still, it doesn’t say much for Angela.
Meanwhile, in a tie with Angela in the “terrible adult” column is Baron Winter who seems to do nothing but stare into a fire, manipulate people, and congratulate himself for how smart he is. Yes, that is who he’s supposed to be but after four issues, I’d like to see more of what drives him to such lengths as to manipulate people to their deaths, something tangible that explains his actions emotionally.
All of this sounds like I didn’t like the issue. I did, mostly for Raven’s own pain at being torn between worlds, and for how the faceless ones tried to save each other. Their need to kill Raven, I understand well.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.