DAY OF VENGEANCE No. 1
Chapter One: "Last Drink at the End of Time"
|Assistant Editor:||Rachel Gluckstern|
Guess who's even crazier than the last time you saw her? Jean Loring—that's who!1 Locked up tight in a dingy cell at Arkham Asylum, she is haunted by a voice in her head urging her to merge with the essence of the villain Eclipso, which resides in a black diamond in her room.2 Naturally, she does, so she's outtie. End of prologue.
[Ragman's] in action, adding another patch/murderer to his suit of rags, when the rag costume teleports him off to the Forest of Mist—sort of a regular meeting-ground for mystic types. At said location, he hauls a flattened [Enchantress] out of some wreckage while a big mystic dude named Blackbriar Thorn dukes it out with a giant-ass Spectre—Godzilla-style! Because they can't rightly hang out there, the two heroes split for the Oblivion Bar, though it seems a lot of other mystics had the same idea, because the place is packed.
The Spectre is on a tear since losing Hal Jordan as a host, killing everybody who has anything to do with magic. Nobody knows why, but the Enchantress has had it up to here with that yutz, so she makes a motion to form a hunting party. Unfortunately, nobody's really picking up what she's putting down, since they're all banking on the high muckamucks like the Phantom Stranger and Doctor Fate to just deal with it like they always do.
Only problem is that the [Detective Chimp], soaking himself with alcohol over in a booth seat, knows that the Phantom Stranger has been transmogrified into a little black mouse, and he assumes that the other bigwigs probably aren't faring much better.
As the Oblivion Barflies form their impromptu hunting party, one of said bigwigs, the Wizard Shazam, prepares to face the Spectre.
I didn't care particularly for this mini-series the first time I read it. There were a few factors at work negatively affecting my enjoyment here.
Firstly, by the time I got around to reading this, [SHADOWPACT No. 1] had already hit the stands, and frankly, I didn't get it. Bill Willingham, for all the good things I would come to later think about his run on that series, just hadn't bothered to explain himself in the first issue of SHADOWPACT, and I was baffled. I was all like, "Who are all of these weirdos and what do they have in common?" Dedication to that title allowed the team to cohere for me, but embarking upon DAY OF VENGEANCE, I already felt disgruntled, because it seemed like a prerequisite, and I really didn't want to have to get involved in the whole INFINITE CRISIS mega-event.
So there was that. And there was also this. I had just finished reading through IDENTITY CRISIS, a limited series that—though it had its moments—had left a bad taste in my mouth. Your mileage may vary, and that's cool. I can see both sides, though at this point in time, I would have been fine totally distancing myself from anything that came out of that series. Unfortunately, the whole bit with Jean Loring opens up this book and the character is integral to the story.
Then, on top of that, the Blue Devil seemed to me to have become a pretty dark character, and Willingham gave little indication in DAY OF VENGEANCE No. 1 that he would be going any lighter with him, so as a fan of the character, I was annoyed about that. To be sure, I don't think Willingham found his voice until later on, a little bit into the SHADOWPACT series.
So as you can see, DAY OF VENGEANCE wasn't driving me wild with excitement upon first read. It has been over a year since I read this, and coming back to it now for a second pass...well, I actually kind of dig it. I've got a better relationship with the Enchantress and Ragman now, so I'm actually happy to see them getting some good scenes now, as opposed to on the first pass, when I pretty much knew nothing about them and had no emotional investment in them, whatsoever, prior to this story.
Also, I just really like Justiniano's artwork. It's clean and bold, and his Ragman is one of the slickest renditions I've seen. Chris Chuckry's coloring and Walden Wong's inks are the perfect complement. It's attractive work, but appropriately moody.
This page last updated 21 September 2007.
1. Jean Loring, ex-wife of the superhero the Atom, who accidentally murdered Sue Dibny, wife of the Elongated Man, in the pages of IDENTITY CRISIS, then went insane. Spoilers! Look, I hope you don't expect me to get all into that. My name isn't Wikipedia.
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