Annnnnd we're back! What? Another blog so soon? Don't be so shocked, I told you I'd start posting more when I had the time! Just don't expect it to be quite so regularly. But hey, here we are again with another issue of Ragman brought to you by Robert Kanigher, Joe Kubert and the Redondo Studio. Issue three has got to be one of my favorites of the entire first five issue run of the character. But I'll get to that.
We open with a young blind child following the putter patter of his kittens feet through the various alleyways and tenements, only to halt together at the sound of something suspicious. That sound, it turns our is the sound of three thugs hanging two individuals for telling the neighborhood to NOT pay them for protection. This execution is meant to put the neighborhood in it's place. Suddenly the child's little white kitten meows (as kittens are want to do) and the sound alerts the thugs to the boys presence. As boy and kitten go racing into the shadows with the thugs hot on their heels, Ragman suddenly appears.
Eagle eyed readers of the Suit of Souls will recognize that double page spread as the completed colored version of this blogs very own background! Anywho, as the thugs approach the boy (thinking they have him cornered and still not knowing the child is blind) the notice Ragman standing in the shadows with him. Ragman leaps out of the shadows and quickly dispatches all three thugs, walking off into the shadows with the child in tow. Later, the thugs wake up and their brief monologue reveals their connection to a "boss". But the story quickly reverts back to following Ragman and the child. Ragman discovers the child is not only blind but mute as well. Regardless, Ragman questions the boy for the reason he was being chased and through the questioning discovers the severity of the situation.
Ummm yeah, Rory would freakin KILL IT on some party charades...just saying.
Recognizing the danger the boy is in, Ragman takes the child back to Rags N' Tatters to hide out and assures him that his friend Rory Regan will look after him.
As Rory looks over the sleeping boy and his kitten, his mind wanders into a recap page of the story/origin thus far.
I like that particular page because it seemed more seamless than many other recap pages in comics of the times. Remember, most comics had a sort of "origin recap" panel or page in their comic issues JUST IN CASE a new reader were to pop in. Now, at this time in comics, that practice was on its way out, but it's still a mark of an older comic. That, and I liked the page because it confirms my theory from the first issue that Rory's abilities were transferred into him when he touched his father and his friends (in the process of them being electrocuted).
The scene cuts back to the thugs reporting in to their boss "Mr. Big". Mr. Big is displeased, as all crook bosses are who discover they hire incompetents, and vows to solve the problem himself.
Cut back to Rory and...sigh...Bette, as she makes her customary appearance to remind Rory of their "date"
to celebrate Chinese new year as Bette covers the event. Later that night, as the kid is sleeping, Rory dons the Ragman outfit again and sneaks out back to the sound of the thugs canvasing the neighborhood (and the back lot of Rags N' Tatters) to find the kid. Once more he expertly takes them out and walks back inside, right past a pile of mattresses as the comic once more reminds us of the presence of two million dollars in Rorys back lot.
Next morning, after breakfast, Rory goes to work once more at Rags N' Tatters.
I've always loved those scenes, as you probably can tell by now.
After work Rory and the kid walk out to meet Bette when, coincidentally, a woman in charge of an orphanage recognizes the child and thanks Rory for looking after "Teddy". Bette then pulls and uncharacteristically UN-bitchy move and suggests that herself and Rory take Teddy along with them to the Chinese new year festival and the head of the orphanage agrees.
Well it's there that Teddy smells the pomade and hears the knuckle cracking of one of the thugs and FREAKS out trying to identify him to Bette. No matter however as Ragman leaps out of the shadows to take him down. Mr. Big, not to be deterred by a child and a grown man in a suit of rags, takes this moment to begin ROCKETING TOWARDS TEDDY IN HIS WHEELCHAIR SHOOTING A MACHINE GUN.
Yeah. That bit of epicness JUST happened. An old fat mobster in a speeding wheelchair haphazardly firing off machine gun rounds at a child. Just wait, it gets better. The loyal little white kitten then leaps into the lap of Mr. Big and begins scratching him, throwing Mr. Big off course and speeding toward a shop window.
Kitten, boy, Bette and Ragman fine (and the enemy dispatched) the story ends there.
Now I said this was my favorite issue. Here's why.
1) The cover is nice and DARK. Thus far they've all had alot of color but Ragman is like Batman; he works best in shadows. Plus Kuberts name is on the cover in a completely unmistakable way.
2) There we unintentional(?) bits of humor in there with rocketing wheelchairs and Ragman charades.
3) Bette wasn't a completely unlikable character this time around.
4) A hero helped a child.
5) A theory was confirmed.
6) The letters page.
AH the letters page. I told you last time that I couldn't wait to get to this one for you guys. The letters page is constantly something fans of old comics talk about as a great resource. I never understood that love until now. Here is the COMPLETE letters page of "Junk Mail" featuring fan feedback from issue #1.
Allow me to point out three letters in this page.
Just a little foreshadowing of the DC implosion that would take Ragman (and Firestorm) off the stands in a scant few issues.
Confirmation from OTHER fans reading the series when it came out (and the powers that be) that the theory of Rorys abilities is correct.
Loyal fans of Ragman will know that later on, Rorys suit of Rags would take on a more supernatural origin. Rory himself would become a Jew. His whole background retconned and the character of Ragman would become a champion for the Jewish community. And Rorys suit would become the namesake for this blog; a suit of souls. A patchwork able to capture and imprison the souls of evildoers, allowing the wearer of the rags to call on the abilities of those trapped within the patchwork suit whenever he needed them. The suit would act as a purgatory until the souls paid their penance.
As of right now, Rory is apparently IRISH...but, knowing what we know about the future of the character, it's VERY interesting to read this letter in the pages of Ragmans third appearance.
Now to leave you, once more, with some humorous ads for Hostess, other DC titles (featuring gorillas), Spalding basketballs and a PSA from Supes about domestic child abuse.
Thanks for reading and PLEASE don't forget to "follow/join" the blog, comment on the postings and share the content to your hearts desire! Till we meet again!