DC Comics
The Red Circle: Inferno # 1 (of 1)
By Koppy McFad
August 15, 2009 - 00:09

DC Comics
Writer(s): J. Michael Straczynski
Penciller(s): Greg Scott
Colourist(s): Art Lyon
Letterer(s): Steve Wands
Cover Artist(s): Jesus Saiz
$2.99 US 32 pages


The newest addition to the Red Circle lineup is a true mystery-man, because even he doesn't know who he really is. An amnesiac, the only survivor of a ship fire, is brought into a hospital where he inexplicably bursts into flame and then transforms into a completely different man-- a bald guy with a menacing mustache and even more menacing flame powers.

This new being, calling himself "Inferno," clashes with the Hangman-- the first character introduced under the Red Circle imprint. But it soon becames clear that Inferno has heroic inclinations, even if he isn't exactly sure why.

This is an intriguing premise-- a mix between "The Bourne Identity" and superheroics. The new Inferno is not just a man with dual identities but apparently has two individuals sharing one body. Additionally, one of those identities looks like a meaner version of DC head honcho, Dan Didio. The fact that the lead character looks like a rather plain man rather than the usual handsome superhero, makes this book even more unique.

The art however makes this book look too mysterious-- to the point that you aren't sure what is going on in some panels. Instead of the Inferno generating light, we end up with a lot of smoke so it is hard to follow the story. In one scene, an attack helicopter goes after Inferno and then the Hangman destroys it (with the people inside.) It isn't clear whether our two 'heroes' have destroyed a villain's attack chopper or maybe killed some National Guardsman who were trying to end their destructive rampage. DC Comics should have taken more effort to make this story easier to follow, considering that this one-shot has to attract enough readers to get them interested in Inferno and the Red Circle line in general.

While DC Comics may deserve some praise for their originality, the new Inferno may be a bit too strange and untraditional for readers to sympathize with. His un-handsome looks won't make things easier. The complicated mystery as to the origins of this new Inferno may actually scare new readers off instead of attracting them. Maybe DC Comics should have just stuck to the Golden-Age version and used a fire-breathing carny who fights crime.


Rating: 6/10

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