Filed under: Comic Reviews, DC Comics | Tags: BernardChang, DCNew52, DCUPresents, Deadman, PaulJenkins
Boston Brand seems to have made a career out of bit-parts and guest appearances throughout his career in the DCU. I first got acquainted with him during Alan Moore’s run on the ever lovable Swampy and then met him again in the Flashpoint tie-in Deadman and the Flying Graysons. You can read my review of this tie in right here on www.comicsanonymous.co.uk.
DCU Presents #1 comes to us in the 3rd week of DCnew52 releases and serves as a great primer for its premier ‘Dark & Edgy’ title; Justice League Dark. The title acts as an excellent modern origin story for a character that a lot of readers might be unfamiliar with.
Penned by Paul Jenkins, primarily a Marvel man with an impressive back catalogue,and art by another DC newcomer Bernard Chang, issue #1 of DCU Presents is a fun and enjoyable book with characters you can buy into and just the right amount of mystery to make you buy issue #2.
Issue #1 benefits from a striking Ryan Sook cover which draws you right into Deadman’s world and straight into Chang’s electrifying daredevil sequence. Jenkins at times is a bit on the wordy side, particularly during these initial few pages, but he finds his stride as the story progresses.
Through Boston, Jenkins tells us of his origin as a top circus performer with an attitude problem, his murder at the hands of a gun wielding assassin and beyond his ‘earthly’ life, his meetings with Rama, a Hindi deity who tasks Boston with possessing various individuals on the wrong path and helping them onto the right, thereby Boston becoming a better person. This gives the book a lot of potential for different situations and should keep things interesting from both art and story perspectives.
The book even dares to take on the every controversial subject of soldiers in wheelchairs, or more specifically, war in an eastern country (likely either Iraq or Afghanistan) and a recently injured soldier now wheelchair bound due to the loss of his legs. There are also greater issues at play here for the soldier, other than the loss of his legs. The guilt he carries with him after seeing his colleagues killed seems to give him greater pain.
A few people I’ve spoken to about this seem to think the soldier in question has been portrayed in a most stereotypical fashion, and his being in a wheel chair as inherently negative. I disagree, i think it’s been expressed really accurately, and in an appropriately negative fashion.
The comic book goes on to show us a bit more of the soldier-about-to-be-possessed’s internal strife before going on to give as an insight into Boston’s personal life as he tries to track down an old friend. There is some really cool artwork here as Boston shows off some tricks he’s learned in the afterlife.
This comic has a lot of good stuff going for it, great artwork, beautiful colours, interesting and complex characters and its well written. There is also a bit of a cliffhanger at the end. If you didn’t get this book already you had better track it down. Deadman is going to be cropping up a lot as not only is he central to JLDark but he is also in a relationship with Dove, of Hawk and Dove fame.
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