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Ragman #1

Writer: Ray Fawkes
Artist: Inaki Miranda
Colorist: Eva De La Cruz
Letterer: Josh Reed
Publisher: DC

Even for longtime DC fans, Ragman is a pretty obscure character. He showed up on Arrow in season five and is set to return in the new season, but in terms of the comics he’s remained mostly absent for a while.

This new limited series by writer Ray Fawkes and artist Inaki Miranda provides a revamp of Ragman’s origin, and could potentially lead to a more prominent role for him in Rebirth. For now though, this is a nice self-contained comic perfect for the Halloween season.

Ragman #1 tells the story of Rory Regan, an army veteran who returns home to Gotham after a failed mission to raid an ancient tomb in an Israeli desert. During the mission, Regan encounters a supernatural force which eventually transforms him into the creature Ragman. As memories of these experiences and fallen comrades haunt him, Regan faces even more demons when a new evil shows up in Gotham.

I knew next to nothing about Ragman’s origin or mythos coming into this issue, and I found it quite enjoyable. The character first appeared in 1976, and Fawkes and Miranda do a great job capturing the tonal aspects of 70s supernatural horror, while also giving the book a modern context. This issue is part war drama and part horror fantasy, with both genres nicely balanced. Fawkes does an especially good job with the pacing, allowing the readers to get a feel of Regan’s character before showing him in the Ragman costume.

Likewise, Miranda and De La Cruz deliver a subdued, grim style that feels like a John Carpenter movie. There’s a great double splash page-spread about midway through which showcases Ragman and the villain with Gotham looming in the background. If you’re into anything to do with Swamp Thing, Constantine or Justice League Dark, you’ll love this comic.