By Ray Fawkes, Inaki Miranda & Eva De La Cruz
Ragman has gained recent attention in the DC community thanks to his brief role on The CW’s Arrow, but ultimately he didn’t last very long. This new miniseries by Ray Fawkes has allowed fans of the character to explore his origins in the comics, as well as provide something vaguely horror-related for horror fans to read in October. It has a darker, grittier tone than the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, basically showing Ragman’s origin story in this first issue that keeps it as new-reader friendly as possible, designed to draw as many readers in as possible as his character isn’t the biggest name around, even with his appearance in Arrow to take into account.
Ray Fawkes takes the helm of war veteran Rory Harper, who is plagued by the death of his partners following a mission that went wrong in the Israeli Desert. The issue does a lot to flesh out Rory as he’s dealing with his survivor’s guilt and loss back in Gotham City, but his life is about to be turned upside down by what has followed him back. It’s a very effective start to the series that reminds audiences of the classic Universal Monsters movies in tone and structure, and were it not for Ragman being established as a hero, Fawkes could have easily taken a different light and established him as the villain.
The book itself is strong and does an effective job at setting the scene, if not much else. The main story we’ll get to in later chapters but for now it introduces us to Rory and makes a case as to why we should see him as our protagonist, casting him in a sympathetic light. The script is well paced, smooth and clearly structured, with Fawkes doing an effective job at laying the groundwork for the more interesting stuff to come. The nature of the six-issue mini-series allows the writer to keep the story concise, and there hopefully won’t be any room for filler issues going forward.
Inaki Miranda steals the show with some fantastic, moody and atmospheric artwork that really helps immerse you in the mystical yet grounded world of Ragman, which takes place in Gotham City, but refreshingly, does not rely on cameo appearances by Batman to draw you in. The landscape changes between the city skylines of Gotham and the dark tomb beneath the desert is clear, with the book flowing from one location to another very well, brought to life superbly with colourist Eva De La Cruz. Every character, even the minor ones, feels unique and distinctive as the landscape itself, and this extra attention to detail really helps immerse audiences in the realistic nature of the book.
The villain and supernatural elements may not be immediately as clearer as everything else established in the book but it does a good job at showing the readers who Rory Harper is. If you’ve never read a Ragman book before but want to know more about him then this is the a great place as any to start, especially if you’re in the mood for a spookier type of book to read this October as Halloween gets ever closer.