Ragman (2017) #2
Written By: Ray Fawkes
Art By: Inaki Miranda
Colored By: Eva De La Cruz
Lettered By: Josh Reed
Ragman Created By: Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert
Ragman, a lesser known hero from the annals of DC comics makes his triumphant return with a modern take in this mini-series authored by Ray Fawkes. Combat veteran Rory Regan struggles to overcome his guilt after becoming the sole survivor of a mysterious attack following a botched treasure hunt with his squad in the middle east. Upon returning to his home of Gotham City, he finds himself haunted by ghosts of the past figuratively and literally as he comes into possession of a supernatural cloak and comes under fire from mystical forces beyond mortal comprehension.
What You Missed:
In the series so far, we’re introduced to Rory Regan and take a look into his life following the traumatic loss of his squad during an attack from seemingly inhuman entities when they attempted the looting of an ancient temple. As he acclimates back to civilized society, he can’t help but feel watched by passersby and strangers, leading him to seek guidance in a local support group. His paranoia no longer seems unwarranted when he becomes melded with a sacred magic cloak, constructed of rags and the absorbed souls of his former squad, who still talk to Rory in their disembodied form. Soon after this discovery, his father’s shop is attacked by two supernatural villains not unlike the ones that attacked him in the Middle East, leading Rory to a super powered fight for his life.
This issue sees Rory struggling to overcome his survivor’s guilt in the midst of a battle with the two demons that destroyed his father’s store. The voices of his deceased squad help to guide him through the psychic attack the demonic attackers perpetrate on his mind to weaken his body and take back his magic cloak. Through the use of his newfound powers and the comradery of his fallen team, Rory overpowers the demons and absorbs them both into his cloak before they can kill any more innocent police officers or Rory’s unconscious father. Rory briefly interrogates the captured consciousness of one of the demonic foes and receives a cryptic and dire threat before burning out the aggressor’s existence entirely. Rory’s fallen squad members rally him to prepare for more challenges ahead as the issue comes to a close.
Opinions and Such:
So far, Ray Fawkes’ Ragman leaves a lot to be desired in terms of character. The surreal visual storytelling, the abstract and mystical tone, and the fast-paced and frantic action scenes are all stunningly told through Inaki Miranda’s dynamic art and Eva De La Cruz’s flavorful color style. Yet, both are in service of a rather hectic plot that struggles to find time to really build Rory as a character. In order to prepare for reviewing this series, I took the liberty of reading the original Ragman mini-series from 1976, and so far the newer incarnation of Rory Regan is a harder character to root for as he is forced to be purely reactionary. Rory doesn’t often do or say much to build upon his personality or viewpoints of the world, and is instead always too swept up in the panic of one situation or another that he has minimal control over. In the original 1976 incarnation of the character, his costume, powers, origin, and fighting style are all certainly less glamorous, but Rory himself is a stronger character and his love for the people of his city comes through in every issue via his actions and interactions with the community around him. The modern series by comparison is in such a perpetual hurry to the next action scene that Rory is left by the wayside and serves more as a vehicle for the reader to be taken to these visual spectacles. Its understandable, however, that character building can be difficult in a limited run such as this and Ray Fawkes may have plans to slow it down and focus on the human element of the story in coming issues. Only time can tell.