Ragman (2017) #3
Written By: Ray Fawkes
Art By: Inaki Miranda
Colored By: Eva De La Cruz
Lettered By: Josh Reed
Ragman Created By: Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert
Ragman, a lesser known hero from the annals of DC comics makes his triumphant return with a modern take in this mini-series authored by Ray Fawkes. Combat veteran Rory Regan struggles to overcome his guilt after becoming the sole survivor of a mysterious attack following a botched treasure hunt with his squad in the middle east. Upon returning to his home of Gotham City, he finds himself haunted by ghosts of the past figuratively and literally as he comes into possession of a supernatural cloak and comes under fire from mystical forces beyond mortal comprehension.
What You Missed:
Thus far in Ragman’s modern debut, Ragman, AKA Rory Regan, has had a difficult time finding a moment of peace since his return from a stint as a marine in the Middle-East, with a magic cloak now bound to him forever and the souls of his dead platoon residing in his mind. Dark forces ascend on Gotham with the intent of stripping Rory’s power and hurting those close to him. His father’s junk shop was destroyed and his father was hospitalized, leaving Rory to lament that he hasn’t stopped being at war, even after coming home.
In this issue, we find Rory checking in on his father, who thankfully came out of his ordeal with only minor injuries. Rory talks in code about his experience as Ragman in a way that mirrors the story of many veterans with PTSD, which causes his father to worry for his mental health. Soon after, when Rory is knocking heads together in battles against various demons in Gotham, two other well known DC characters intersect his path and offer advice from one hero to another. Both encounters leave Ragman uneasy and distrustful. We end the issue with Rory coming to the realization that his foe is more powerful than he initially thought and that he must put his faith in the help of an unusual ally.
Opinions and Such:
This issue isn’t necessarily disappointing, but definitely not the improvement I was hoping for over the first few. As with the last two issues, the character building and pacing feel too rushed, with little to no real development for Rory Regan’s character. His brief discussion about his feelings at the beginning of the issue feel rather tacked on and generic. Its the same speech about a soldier coming home from war that you hear in dozens of other stories about veteran characters, and it lacks a defining flavor to set it apart. The tone feels very underdeveloped as well, with this story still unsure if it wants to be fun and chaotic or dark and dramatic, leaving the reader with a middled-out and luke-warm story. All the pieces are set for a more interesting narrative, but the pacing is always cramming character development into the backseat and pushing fight scenes and by-the-numbers bad guy encounters into the forefront. Rory is still almost an unknown to the reader, but by this time in the original Ragman series we already had an incredibly strong grasp of his personality, his wants, and his fears.
In the 1976 Ragman run, consisting of only 5 issues, Regan’s fear of staying the owner of a junkyard his whole life was immediately on display before getting to the end of the first issue. We also learned very quickly that he wanted to help people, even making constant personal sacrifices to support his community. His extreme empathy was a major character flaw. In three times as many issues, this current Ragman run has said nearly nothing about the character save for ‘he is stressed about war’ and ‘he feels responsible for not being able to help his platoon who died in circumstance he had no control over.’ Ray Fawkes can’t seem to find time to slow down the action scenes to fully flesh out and address the heart of the story: Ragman himself. Much like the previous two issues, it feels impersonal and rushed. We’re only halfway through the story and it already feels like its at the end because of the exhausting arrangement of scenes. While I really want to like it, I feel as if the series will be easily forgotten soon after its end.