By Bill Willingham & various (DC Comics)
Bill Willingham shows his facility with the fight â€˜nâ€™ tights comicbook mainstream in this second collection of DCâ€™s Supernatural Superteam reprinting tales from issues #4 and 9-13 of the monthly magazine. It all starts with â€˜Blue Devil: A Night in the Lifeâ€™, illustrated by Steve Scott and Wayne Faucher which focuses on the private life of the teamâ€™s demonic strongman. The action portion is provided by a couple of demons who have been dispatched to bring the hero to an audience in Hell. This tale was originally published as the fourth issue, so any ominous foreshadowing it provided is somewhat lessened, but it certainly makes more narrative sense as a prelude to the next tale.
â€˜The Demon Triptychâ€™ (issues #9-11, and pencilled by Tom Derenick) finds guest host the Phantom Stranger presiding over a tale as the team goes public and begins to notice some odd behaviour from Blue Devil. In case youâ€™re wondering, as movie stuntman Dan Cassidy he was mystically bonded into an animatronic suit he was wearing. The magic turned him into an actual devil; or so he always believedâ€¦ He also â€œsold his soul for fameâ€â€¦
Wayward Etrigan, however, is the real McCoy, and frankly the ranks of Hell are fed up with him. When they see a chance to replace him with Cassidy they take it, forcing his team-mates to invade the Infernal Realm to get him back. In the course of the mission tactical leader Nightmaster is impaled with his own magic blade, and the next tale â€˜Live by the Sword, Die by the Swordâ€™ (# 12, with art by Derenick and Faucher) is a highly enjoyable deathbed review of his origin and career.
The book concludes with â€˜Bad Tidings & Evil Deedsâ€™, illustrated by Scott Hampton, wherein ex-Justice Leaguer and actual Angel Zauriel is ordered by his celestial superiors to destroy Cassidy, but that confrontation is left for the next volume in this stylish appetite-whetter, which is just a nicer way of saying this volume ends on a bit of a cliffhangerâ€¦
Enjoyable, light-hearted and highly addictive, just like its predecessor (Shadowpact: The Pentacle Plot – ISBN: 1-84576-533-8) this is a very accessible book for newcomers and the balance of humour, drama and action is superb. Great as a gift and one youâ€™ll be tempted to keep for yourself.
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