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Red Circle: Inferno Review

Reviews for the various Mighty Crusaders Comics.

Moderator: Rik

Post Thu Dec 10, 2009 11:30 pm
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Red Circle: Inferno Review
JMS tackles another iconic Red Circle character.
by Daniel Crown


August 12, 2009 - Telling the tale of a vagabond suffering from a shattered memory, with Inferno J. Michael Straczynski attempts to balance his way across the tricky tightrope of ambiguity while still establishing a mythos for the second in a series of Archie Comics characters being re-introduced to the DC Universe. Unfortunately, unlike last week's The Hangman, he doesn't quite make it all the way across. The amnesia the author crafts for his titular character is in every way dwarfed by that of his audience, resulting is an instantly forgettable story that does nothing to stir interest in a character that is otherwise ablaze with cliché.

Even putting aside familiarity issues for a moment, one has to wonder how good of an idea it is to spin a yarn with an amnesic lead while also trying to reestablish a set of old and obscure characters within an already populous fold. By the end of the one-shot we know nothing more of the character than that he can set himself on fire, which isn't exactly noteworthy enough to justify continued reading in a world brimming with a thousand superheroes. To be fair, Straczynski may have huge, earth-shattering plans for the character further down the road, but in regards to this particular issue, the bones of the story are left entirely too bare to entice any new reader to take even the smallest of bites.

In the meantime, Greg Scott's artwork is also served in a mixed bag. The artist's character designs - steeped in the increasingly popular minimalist/noir tradition--work fairly well in regards to creating the story's seedy underbelly. Yet, even so, maybe it's because of the relative monotony of the script itself, but the dank and doleful aesthetics seem to only reinforce the book's lack of energy. The only panels that tend to catch the eye are those in which the Inferno lets loose, which surprisingly enough, are few and far between.

Ultimately, the little bit of fun that is to be had within Inferno falls under the umbrage of the bigger picture. While this particular character proves an absolute and undeniable dud, the idea of re-implementing Archie's classic characters back into the mainstream continues to be a rather inspired end-goal. Here's hoping that next week's The Web can follow the lead of the Hangman and provide the sort of justification for this that Inferno has so enthusiastically misplaced.
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