By Koppy McFad
September 13, 2008 - 00:16
The new Spectre (Crispus Allen) is summoned to punish the new Question (Renee Montoya) while a more dangerous threat against mankind slowly unfolds. Guest-starring, the new Batwoman (Kate Kane.)
This story is rather confusing with the Spectre teleporting people abruptly, various characters running around and fighting. It all amounts to the resurrection of some greater, metaphysical evil but it is hard to tell what is going on.
The art and the story in this issue simply do not work together. Although the Spectre and the cast move about rather swiftly in this story, it is hard to tell what the setting is because the backgrounds all look similarly murky and vague. All the characters look dark and grimey, as though the art was done with applesauce and chocolate. One splash page has Batwoman engaged in battle with some monster-men but it is done so slap-dashedly that it just looks like a crush of costumed and deformed bodies.
Additionally, the whole "Question" gimmick simply doesn't work on Montoya. The art and story are trying so hard to show the emotion behind the faceless-mask that she wears, it defeats the very purpose of the costume.
The story does have some clever twists-- the introduction of a key villain, the innovative use of the spear of destiny and the struggle of Crispus Allen who is losing his faith even as he is assigned to do God's work. The internal conflict within Allen and the external conflict between the Spectre and another of God's emissaries give this story its drama. You almost resent the introduction of the Question and Batwoman to the story since they divert attention away from the theological debate between the Spectre and his human host.
The art is the big stumbling block of this issue. DC Comics should let its new artists study the works of Bernie Wrightson, Mike Kaluta, Matt Wagner, Frank Brunner, Rudy Nebres and the Redondo brothers to show them that they can do mood, mystery and menace without turning the comic into a murky, mixed-up mess.
Rating: 5 /10