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DC - Red Circle: Inferno #1

Reviews for the various Mighty Crusaders Comics.

Moderator: Rik

Post Fri Sep 11, 2009 12:25 pm
leonmallett User avatar

Posts: 523
Location: West Midlands, UK

Writer Joseph Michael Straczynski
Penciller Greg Scott

The mysterious stranger was brought into the hospital with one name on his lips: “Frank Verrano.” He has no memory of who he was, where he came from, or how he could possibly be the only survivor of a bombing attack on a cruise liner that killed hundreds of people. But as deep as that mystery runs, a violent attack on the hospital opens a deeper one. How can this man burst into flames…and survive? And why does the man who stands in those flames, the man know as the Inferno, look nothing like the one who stood in his place just seconds before?

Okay - no spoilers, and no plot recap other than the solicitation copy above.

Okay, the second issue of the JMS Red Circle project. In general terms it is more of the same - we get a blueprint for the character as reimagined by JMS. Yet for me this was less satisfying than the Hangman issue that preceeded it. I feel the problem is inherent in the premise: we have an amnesiac about whom we have hints and fragments of suggestions as to who he may have been, and why he has special powers.

The problem is that in a one-shot it leaves a lot hanging. That kind of story arguably needs resolution of some kind - look at the Bourne movies as an example. In the first movie he has resolution in relation to (most of) those who have mistreated him and abandoned him due to acting on their orders. The second movie offers a resolution for his own actions as well as revenge. The third continues this paradigm. In Inferno we get a continuing and open set-up of a man on the run, with an unknown past and origin. We are not wholly certain who he is running from (at least in the case of Richard Kimble there were identifiable pursuers). Thus in that kind of context the one-shot feels very much like the beginning of a much larger story, whereas the Hangman story neatly gave an origin, short contemporarily set story and character set-up all in one. Inferno simply feels too incomplete as a one-shot for me. More was needed I feel. It is ironic that the story of a lost man felt somewhat lost in of itself. In some ways I think 30-40 pages would have been ideal to fill out the details somewhat, whilst setting the stage for the larger mystery.

Artwise I think the team turned in a very good job and the art felt very well suited to the book, so kudos to assistant editor Chris Conroy and editor Joey Cavalieri.

Not wholy satisfying, but not terrible. Just okay in my view due to the flaws. I will give it a 6 out of 10.
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