By Koppy McFad
February 3, 2009 - 03:26
This is the latest chapter in a miniseries where DC's magical characters get involved in a civil war for control of Hell.
This is a sprawling issue with a huge cast and the creators don't bother to tell us who these characters are and what they are doing in Hell. Apparently, they assume that we have been following this series from the start and are well-versed in the background of the DC comics universe. Many of the main characters are either extremely obscure (the Yellow Peri?) or have been newly-introduced (the new Sargon and Ibis) so even the comic die-hards will have trouble telling who is who.
In this issue, Satanus has toppled Neron as ruler of Hell and this is suppose to have some metaphysical ramifications for the DC universe. However, for the scattered remnants of DC magic heroes who got embroiled in the war, the main priority is simply finding a place of safety.
Perhaps this story will make more sense when it is collected in a trade paperback but right now, it just seems too confusing. We see Dr. Occult arguing with his estranged girlfriend, we see Lobo seemingly immobile, Etrigan and Blue Devil both turned human and even the return of the Linda Danvers-Earth Angel-ex-Supergirl-Matrix-whatchamacallit. But it is hard to recall just how any of these characters reached their respective situations. Maybe the creators thought their story would be so compelling that we would remember what happened a month ago. But this large cast is simply too large to keep track of without a scorecard.
There is a sense of excitement and desperation, especially when the story focuses on characters like Zatanna, who clearly does not deserve to be in Hell. And it is good to see DC Comics making use of new characters like Dr. Fate, Sargon and others. But even these characters get merely a few pages in a gigantic tale so it is difficult to really get into their plight.
The art is kinetic and fast-moving and the inks of Sienkiewicz helps build up the mood of darkness and despair that all the characters are feeling. What it lacks is the sense of infernal grandeur that one would expect from a story based in Hell itself.
Rating: 5 /10