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I started reading comics regularly after 'Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns'. Since then, I've become a co-host on 'The LanternCast' (a podcast dedicated to Green Lantern that's been on the air since 2008), started a new podcast covering the late 1980's DC series Action Comics Weekly (appropriately titled The Action Comics Weekly Podcast), and have been the curator of THE blog on the internet dedicated to the character of Ragman, created by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert published by DC Comics starting in 1976 and currently appearing on The CW show 'Arrow' as portrayed by actor Joe Dinicol. I'm an avid fan of comics, classic rock, and speaking my mind. Welcome!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Ragman #2 - A Ragged Revenge!

A green cloaked figure alights on a rooftop above the snow covered slums of Gotham. After peering down intently on his destination, the old 'Rags N Tatters' pawn shop, this quiet crusader leaps from his perch and silently enters the darkened storefront.

Awww yeah. How about them apples? Not bad for being away for a bit right? RIGHT?! Psh, I knew it. Anywho, so the Ragman Blog is BACK folks! And it's high time I posted up the review for issue #2 of the 1991 eight issue Ragman mini-series by Keith Giffen and Pat Broderick.

When last I left you, Rory had gotten into a scrape and his father suffered a worse fate. Seeking to take vengeance on those who killed his father, Rory returned to his fathers junk shop (now occupied by drug dealers) and stumbled upon a box of rags which supernaturally coalesced around him into a suit.

And, alongside that bit of theatrics I indulged in above, that is where we re-enter the story.

Awakened by a rustling sound, Stu gets up, grabs his handgun and is off to hunt some rats. Whilst hunting, his partner in “drug stuff” (I mean, I don't know. Are they dealers? Do they MAKE the stuff? IDK) Mabel wakes up and asks him what he's up to. He tells her to go back to bed and then “SNAP!” Ragman uppercuts the living snot outta Stu (breaking his neck and killing him?). His timing is off though as Mabel has heard the ruckus (a word I enjoy, for the record) and steps out and puts four slugs (that'd be bullets for you uninformed types) in his chest.

Assuming, as anyone would, that he's dead, Mabel indulges in momentary gloating until she notices movement from Rags. Suddenly shes completely washed over with rags...

Rags then sets about searching the place until he discovers the drugs. Meanwhile Betty is attempting to confront random people in alleyways and force seasonal greetings out of them. On another side of town, One-Shot is selling drugs to a customer and, upon leaving him, stumbles across a large bag of “our best stuff”. Rags immediately pummels the guy into a confession of everything that's been going on (but doesn't mention killing Rory's father) and off Rags goes. It's at this point that the shadowy faced stranger Betty attempted to coerce a little holiday cheer from comes upon the battered and bloody One-Shot and just keeps walking, brushing a wayward rag off his shoulders.

At the local bar, the menacing Jimmy Olson (alright, alright! Vorst.) partakes of his last drink of the evening before heading off to find One-Shot...all of which is being observed by Rags...

So Vorst enters 'Rags N Tatters' to check on things when he discovers Stu and Mabel dead (hooray for confirmation). Drawing his gun, he wanders towards an open closet and peers inside. It then promptly slams in his face. So he tells whomever is in there to come out on the count of three.


Hey, you can't complain man. He did as you asked. It's not his fault you didn't specify HOW. Anyways, stunned gunman is stunned and attempts to shoot Rags which, surprise surprise, fails. So Rags tosses him through a wooden door and out into the snow. Thus begins a pursuit up to the roof where a cornered Vorst says, “Let me go!! I didn't do anything! An' if I did, then I'm SORRY!” Rags responds after a pause...

Well at least there is SOME slight hesitation from Rory in the way he seems to be going about this. Cut to Betty observing a crime scene as officials wheel away a body (whose mouth had be stuffed with cocaine) and overhearing that it would take “a miracle” to save that part of town. Cut back to Rags as he enters the apartment of the man who killed his father. It's then that the inner monologue of Rory clarifies exactly what happened to Mabel earlier, “I was led to this apartment by the evil woman whose black soul is now a part of my suit.” Hence...SUIT OF SOULS! Boom.

Back to the action. So, Rory sneaks up on the man and suddenly the man wheels around in bed and aims a gun at Rags and fires...four times. Is that all these clips hold? Regardless, it doesn't work, so Rags grabs a pillow and, despite the mans adamant protests...

So that brings Rory's body count to a total of five in just one issue. Calm down dude. Just a bit. But moving on, the next day Rory is awakened by a knock at his door by the police as they inform him that his “Aunt and Uncle have been murdered” (Stu and Mabel who assumed the role of Aunt and Uncle to gain control of 'Rags N Tatters'). We are then thrown into a scene with zero information where a business man in a high rise is angrily attempting to contact Vorst then, all atypical villain like, looks over a model of his “old neighborhood” and sinks into villainous contemplation.

Back at 'Rags N Tatters', Betty is congratulating Rory on re-acquiring the Junk Shop. After she leaves, Rory examines his suit, thinking his father “shirked the responsibility of the suit”. However he discovers within the suit the word “EMET”, the very same word that had been habitually appearing in his dreams/nightmares. Rory recalls the memory of the Legend of the Golem but remarks that, “I'm not a clay man with letters carved in my head! I'm only flesh and blood!” Suddenly a voice speaks up from behind him...

And that's that. Whoa nelly. What an issue. I admit, part of me didn't look forward to reviewing this series. Mostly because of the 9 panel layout per page. Makes things...longer I guess. But I've gotta admit, it's a pretty great origin story thus far. And we STILL haven't learned everything about the suit! Love that. I also love that Rory killed a bunch of people. War veteran haunted by his service witnesses his father being murdered while he himself is beaten into a coma. Man then stumbles upon supernatural suit and uses it in his pursuit of vengeance. You can't deny, you could very well do the same thing if driven by anger and grief and endowed, in THAT MOMENT, with powers. I like that “humanity” in my heroes. I like that, forgive the use of the word, they fuck up in the beginning.

I'm also really growing on the 9 panel layout as it relates to Pats artwork. As stated before, I love Pats work, but thought it suffered in the use of this layout. But stretching one image across three panels from time to time helps.

Also enjoying the “slow reveal” of things here. Like how you're not CERTAIN Stu is dead until later. Or they don't tell you (but they hint at it) until later what happened to Mabel. Same with One-Shot, you just kinda think Rags beat the snot out of him an left him in the snow. I like the follow through.

So...ONTO THE ADS!!!! (Click on Image to Enlarge!)

Alright folks, that's it! Next time we either have issue #3 or we're doing something else (probably related to New 52 Ragman). Either way, look forward to it! I'm back babydoll! Don't forget to follow the blog, share it with your friends and ABOVE ALL comment on the post! I LOVE hearing back from you guys and the comments is the best way to do it!

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