DAY OF VENGEANCE No. 2
Chapter Two: "Some Enchantress Evening"
p. 6, 13, 17-21
|Assistant Editor:||Rachel Gluckstern|
The Spectre is on a tear across the world punishing everybody who ever had an impure thought. Without a human host, the Spirit of Vengeance is no longer anchored to reality and reason, leaving it ripe to be influenced by the Jean Loring Eclipso, who is sort of like some kind of creepy child molester who plays upon the Spectre's childlike naiveté and puerile craving for approval. She plants the seed in the Spirit's1 ghostly noggin that magic, itself, is at the heart of all evil. Which makes the first order of business, then, taking out the big guns: the Phantom Stranger, Doctor Fate, and Madame Xanadu, at which point it moves on to destroying mystical meeting grounds and various fonts of refined magic.
Cut to a backroom at the Oblivion Bar where [the Enchantress] is channeling the mind of Eclipso to uncover her sinister plan. Jimmy Rook, the Nightmaster and proprietor of the bar, has taken command of an ad hoc group consisting of himself, [Blue Devil], Enchantress, [Ragman], [Detective Chimp], and [Nightshade]. Rook closes down the bar and tells the gathered mystics to scatter on the wind, while his team takes a trip to the Mist Woods, where Echantress almost bought the farm in [DAY OF VENGEANCE No. 1].
Enchantress picks up the Spectre's mystical scent and the group breaks into two, with Detective Chimp and Nightshade following up on a Plan "B", while the rest pursue Plan "A", which entails attacking Eclipso head-on, hoping to destroy her and talk some sense into the off-the-reservation Spectre. Upon arrival, they find the Spectre in mortal (immortal?) combat with Captain Marvel, and Eclipso reveling in the violence.
Enchantress: Do you know what Ragman did, over there? He kissed me! He actually thought we shared a moment!
Blue Devil: Burned!
Ragman: I said I was sorry. Now let it drop. I'm certain I'm not the only man in history to ever misread a situation.
I think this is where the premise went off the rails for me the first time around. The Spectre falling victim to the influence of Eclipso (about whom, I admit that I know very little) and turning so quickly and easily to her cause was—and still is—a difficult pill for me to swallow. Even without a host, I felt that the Spectre should have a bit more backbone than that. I understand that the character is essentially a plot motivator for this mini-series—a means to an end—and it makes sense that if you needed a character powerful enough to take out all magic, you would use the Spectre, but even still, the motivation didn't ring true for me.
There is enough here to recommend it, but conceptually, the genesis of the story's chain of events is troublesome. I don't mind the Spectre fulfilling this role, really—I just wish that it could have been pulled off more organically, somehow.
That being said, this comic featured a scene that actually made me laugh out loud, with Ragman's ill-conceived smooching of Enchantress, and apart from my quibbles with the Spectre, features otherwise good characterization, and more strong artwork from Justiniano (the inking difference between Walden Wong and Livesay is hardly noticeable, except that the later might have brought a somewhat thicker approach, but in any case, a quality job).
Detective Chimp is probably the break-out star of this book. Bill Willingham seems to be having a lot of fun putting words into his mouth, and you never really question what a chimp detective is doing in the company of the rest of these mystic combatants, so Willingham is successful in that, as well.
I'm not crazy about Walt Simonson's cover to this one. The Spectre torturing a generic orange guy isn't really an enticement for me. I'd have preferred to see the stars of the series brought front and center. A misstep for Walt. Usually he's bomb.
This page last updated 24 September 2007.
1. No, not [that guy].
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