Review – Raven: Daughter of Darkness #8: Magical Teen All-Stars

Comic Books DC This Week
Raven: Daughter of Darkness #8 cover, credit to DC Comics.

Raven: Daughter of Darkness #8 – Marv Wolfman, Writer; Pop Mhan, Artist; Lovern Kindzierski, Colorist


Ray – 8/10

Corrina: Still a Bit Muddled

Ray: As Marv Wolfman’s maxiseries enters its final act, beginning with Raven: Daughter of Darkness #8, Raven is for the first time fully invested in Baron Winters’ plan to assemble a new Night Force.

And as this issue makes very clear, she’s far from the only one. This series is quickly becoming an all-star reunion of magical DC teenagers, some who haven’t appeared in years. I was happy to see Eddie Bloomberg, aka Red Devil, appear for the first time since his death in Teen Titans pre-New 52, but he’s only around for a little bit before he botches a rescue mission of a mystic against the shadow beings, has a breakdown, and is summarily fired.

Winters sends him home and summons his next agent – the less personable but far more competent Klarion the Witch Boy, complete with Teekl. He and Raven don’t get along, but they’re able to work together when they’re dispatched to Times Square to work with Zachary Zatara and Traci 13 to rescue a young latent “Arcane” from being consumed by the shadow horsemen that make up the issue’s main threat.

Night Force has a lot of turnover. Credit to DC Comics.

This issue wouldn’t work nearly as well as it does if it wasn’t for the unique character dynamics at play. The young Arcane that they rescue from New York is a gay man from Chile whose husband – a normal human, or so he thinks – is along for the ride and gets sucked into Baron Winters’ domain.

I thought Baron Winters was too unpleasant a character to really work in this series, but it’s becoming clear that’s the point. He’s like the worst elements of Dumbledore jacked up to eleven, as he zeroes in on “Special cases” and manipulates their lives to maximize his chance of taking advantage of their abilities. Although his appeal to the young men is little more than manipulation and intimidation, Raven has a human touch that allows her to get through to them when Robert’s powers spiral out of control. The normalized LGBT representation and the interaction of the young heroes here make this a very entertaining read, and I’m hoping the last arc keeps the focus on this new dynamic.

Corrina: I feel as if the experience with Red Devil is this book in miniature. I’m excited to see the character, the plot setup is great, and then it ends with no good resolution.

I enjoyed what Wolfman has done setting up Raven’s supporting cast. But everything he’s done with Baron Winters has distracted from that ordinary life and interfered with the overall pacing of the series. We’re at issue #8 and Winters and his plans that have been teased since the beginning are finally being explored, while, at the same time, introducing new cast members.

It’s as if this book wants to be both Night Force and Raven: Daughter of Darkness and it’s not fully succeeding at either.

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

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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