Raven: Daughter of Darkness #12 – Marv Wolfman, Writer; Pop Mhan, Artist; Lovern Kindzierski, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
Corrina: Good But Needed More Structure
Ray: Marv Wolfman’s year-long epic tackling the backstory and hidden demons of one of his most iconic characters comes to a close with Raven: Daughter of Darkness #12, as Raven teams up with her new Night Force to take on an ancient species of magic-hunters. This has been an odd series, trying to combine a big dimension-spanning story with a surprisingly intimate and human one about Raven getting to know her new family and fitting in. But the latter story seemingly came to a harsh end last issue as she accidentally erased her family’s memories of her. She still doesn’t know this, as she prepares to face off against the Shadow-Riders for the life of her allies. When we last left off, the unwitting Shadow-Rider Skye seemingly died, but the opening of the issue indicates there’s a lot more to that story than we thought. Soon, she and Skye are alone in another dimension, tragedy follows, and the final battle with the Shadow-Riders looms.
Wolfman’s writing has gotten most of the attention on this series, but Pop Mhan is doing some quality work here as well. His depiction of the Shadow-Riders on one page is genuinely chilling, vaguely reminiscent of classic gothic art. Where the story falls down for me, though, is in the fellow characters in Night Force. This story feels oddly unfinished, in the way certain characters are introduced and shuffled off with no real resolution. I did like how the issue teased Raven’s darker side without having her go over to it – the resolution of the battle with the final enemy is actually pretty clever and toys with our expectations. The ending also pleased me, as the story involving Raven’s family is resolved in a more hopeful way than I expected. With Raven being used so poorly in Titans recently, it’s been great to see her get the spotlight here. The story wasn’t perfect and I’m fine with never seeing Baron Winters again, but I’m ready for more Wolfman Raven any time.
Corrina: This miniseries has been welcome in a number of ways, primarily for re-introducing Raven to this generation of DC readers, for giving her a center, her aunt’s family, and for firmly placing her among DC’s magic users.
It’s also been a nice look into what makes Raven tick: she’s an empath, most of all, and any coldness is due to protecting herself from being overwhelmed. (Because, you know, Trigon.) But she craves human connection, she’s found it, and, as we see in the conclusion, she’s determined to keep it.
However, adding Baron Winters story to Raven’s story did not work nearly as well. He took up far too much panel time, his plot unfolded slowly, and then seemed rushed at the end, when, as Ray said, characters were introduced and then not much made of them. Basically, the pacing was off for the whole series.
But the visuals were always a pleasure, as Mhan excelled at the horror aspect, beginning with the girls who literally had no voices, and ending with the mystic battles this issue. I talked to him at New York Comic Con this year and he said how happy he was to be working with Wolfman. I was thinking of a commission from him but, alas, not in my budget. (But he would have been well worth the cost!)
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.