By Philip Schweier
Sep 26, 2018 - 6:06
Together, they must stop
the Shadow Riders (kind of like the Dementors from Harry Potter) from assassinating
the mystical beings of the DCU. One of their intended victims is a young man
named Robert, whose husband Luis (okay, so he’s gay, no big deal) may have
fallen victim to the Shadow Riders. But Raven is able to rescue him, and
reunites the two who immediately embrace and kiss.
It’s a superfluous depiction, because yeah, their gay, we already got it. It’s not that I have any issue with the LGBTQ community (I honestly don’t consider other peoples' sexuality any of my business). But I DO object to comic book writers and artists whose imagination is so limited, their best means of portraying a homosexual character is to depict a same-sex kiss. In my opinion, it's superfluous. The point was already made that Robert was gay, so in my opinion, the kiss is superfluous and gratuitous.
But this superfluous
depiction is watered down by another, in which we are introduced to Sky, an air
elemental, who immediately is
trounced by a Shadow Rider.
Robert is untrained in his magical abilities, so it’s no problem for Baron Winters to push the young man past the point of rational thought, unleashing his rage-fueled power. It comes in handy when a Shadow Rider attacks the group in Baron Winters’ stronghold. But its defeat may unleash an even more powerful dark magic – something the Baron has been counting on.
Subterfuge and manipulation are tools in Baron Winters’ battle against the forces of evil. And he makes no bones about it. It’s refreshing to see an anti-hero own up to their less-than-desirable strategies. Not everyone can be as up front as Superman, or as crafty yet pure as Batman. Seeing someone unabashedly use and abuse the tools at their disposal – human, magical and otherwise – is refreshing.
There are times when the artwork reminds me of the work of Gene Colan, who drew the original Night Force back in the early 1980s. He’s also known for his work on Tomb of Dracula, one of Marvel’s horror titles, so the supernatural seemed to come easy to him. While Pop Mahn’s style is somewhat inconsistent – his renderings often appearing stiff and inert – he seems to have grasped the nuances of the supernatural quite nicely.