10 November 2005

Day of Vengeance

Premise: Can a band of second-string mystical heroes prevent two spirits of vengeance from wiping magic from the face of the Earth?

In a previous post, I talked a little bit about Infinite Crisis. To further fuel the spark of interest among comics fans, DC published four miniseries which would help to set the events of Infinite Crisis into motion, but could be appreciated on their own merits. One of the series was called Day of Vengeance.

The story itself is a good one. Writer Bill Willingham does an excellent job of putting the readers inside the heads of some obscure heroes as they embark on what feels like a suicide mission, and he gets bonus points for making a silly character like Detective Chimp relevant to a modern audience. Penciller Justianino is equally adept at rendering both large-scale battles (two giant characters fighting over the city) and small scale scenes (a dingy other-dimensional tavern, a suburban, middle class home). If this book consisted of only the story, I would heartily recommend it.

Much like a special-edition DVD, the extras are where this book really shines. In addition to the story, the book includes the covers from the original comics, some pages from Justianino's sketchbook, text pieces that introduce the backstory and the heroes to new readers, and a bonus story reprinted from the Superman comics. This story (written by Judd Winick and pencilled by Ian Churchill) helps to establish one of the villains of Day of Vengeance and features an extended fistfight between Superman and Captain Marvel (Shazam!), which is always fun.

Recommended for: fans of Buffy, Lord of the Rings, and/or The Seven Samurai; people who always root for the underdog.

Not recommended for: people who absolutely refuse to take any story with a talking chimp seriously.

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