By Koppy McFad
August 9, 2009 - 00:44
The Golden-Age MLJ comics hero, the Hangman is given a major makeover as he is introduced into the DC comics universe as an otherwordly avenger. As a Union doctor in the US Civil War, he makes a deal with a mysterious spirit to hunt down evildoers for all eternity in exchange for being saved from a Confederate hanging. The story then switches to modern times where we see that the Hangman is still active, beating up gangstas to save some innocent man.
The story is entertaining enough for an introduction and an origin tale but also seems a tad lacklustre. It doesn't help that the origin story sounds a lot like the one used in the recent EL DIABLO miniseries. The creators fail to make the Hangman's alter-ego very interesting. Robert Dickering is a good-hearted doctor and.... um, that is about it. They need more facets to his personality. The Hangman's powers-- some sort of healing factor/invulnerability coupled with a magic rope-- are also unexciting, especially since he clearly outclasses the street thugs he fights. Perhaps the most intriguing thing about the character-- the fact that he doesn't know if he serves God or the devil-- is not properly exploited.
The art is powerful but lacks a sense of mystery. It reduces the Hangman to being another muscular two-fisted brawler instead of the haunting figure of punishment and mortality in archaic garb that we see on the (very well-done) cover.
Rating: 6 /10