By Bill Willingham, Judd Winick, Ian Churchill & Justiniano (DC Comics/Titan Books)
Another story strand in DC’s ambitious and ubiquitous Infinite Crisis publishing event, the miniseries collected here dealt with the various magic users in the company’s current continuity.
The graphic compilation begins by setting the scene with a text piece defining the nature of magic and a reprint of “Lightning Strikes Twice” (originally printed as Action Comics #826, Adventures of Superman #639 and Superman # 216) which pitted magic-based hero Captain Marvel and the Man of Steel against the demonic and ethereal spirit of rage, Eclipso. Following this rather standard possessions-and-punches outing from Judd Winick, Ian Churchill and Norm Rapmund there is another highly informative and rather necessary text feature outlining the major (or should that be ‘minor’?) protagonists of Day of Vengeance.
The writing of Bill Willingham is always a treat and he adds a gloriously wry and contemporary air to what might have a turgid and silly enterprise, namely rationalising the role of magic as a narrative and plot device in the new continuity that DC is building.
The Spectre, an all-powerful spirit charged by Heaven with the task of punishing the wicked and exacting Divine Vengeance, has been seduced by Eclipso and determines to end all evil by wiping out magic and its practitioners. Using this pompous, ponderous and awe-inspiring premise as a starting point, Willingham constructs a sly, sassy, cynical and utterly irresistible caper, starring a team of mystical second-raters, bar-flies and no-hopers who determine not to wait for the ghostly hammer to fall but rather to risk everything on a pre-emptive strike against the ultimate in the Wrath of God stakes.
Led by septuagenarian sword-swinger Nightmaster, and with strategy and planning by the brilliant and worlds-weary Detective Chimp, The Enchantress, Ragman, Blue Devil, Nightshade and Black Alice, C-list occult heroes though they are, determine to stop the Spectre and save what’s left of their universe.
With enthralling illustrations by Justiniano, Ron Wagner, Walden Wong, Livesay and Dexter Vines, this rollicking, roller-coaster romp is possibly the best and certainly the most accessible of all the various tales that make up Infinite Crisis.
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