After two fun opening chapters, “DC Universe Presents” #11 wraps up the “Savage” storyline with James Robinson and Bernard Chang giving readers a present day Vandal Savage (a co-star of “Demon Knights”) and his daughter Kass Sage in a story about tracking down a serial killer.
While the first two parts were entertaining enough, “DC Universe Presents” #11 has a slightly weak conclusion this month. Robinson’s story feels too simplistic in its ideas; the true killer’s identity has an uninspiring motivation tied into it right off the bat and the disappointments roll in from there. Kass’ ultimate take-down of the bad guys feels too easy and sudden, and the horrible killings by Vandal Savage in the past never feel like they’re ever addressed. In many ways “DC Universe Presents” #11 seems like the sequel to a series of stories that were never actually published involving Vandal Savage, and what readers are left with just can’t hold up when we hit the conclusion. This feels like every single “one killer recruited to find another” story out there, and that’s a shame; the first two chapters had their own cliches built into the script, but there was still enough other material there to keep them lively.
The real draw of “DC Universe Presents” #11 is more art from Chang, who earlier this year drew the initial “DC Universe Presents” storyline about Deadman running in issues #1-5. Chang’s art looks great here, with little touches of artists like Steve Parkhouse present in the murderer’s face with his stringy hair, sunken eyes and hard cheekbones. Compare his visage to Kass’, which is strong but also soft; they’re both dangerous people, but the killer is scary while Kass is deceptively normal. Vandal Savage himself also comes across well here; a big burly bear of a man, whose arrival just from its visual is both something to cheer and also be afraid of. He’s got a wonderfully self-assured swagger every time he shows up on the page, and Chang brings Robinson’s modern-day Savage depiction to life in a way that makes him memorable.
“DC Universe Presents” #11 ends this storyline in not as good of a spot as it began, but overall it wasn’t a bad story by any stretch of the imagination. Rather, it just didn’t live up to its potential the way I wished it had. Script hiccup aside, this book looks great. If Chang keeps drawing every other “DC Universe Presents” story, I know I’ll keep coming back to see what he does next. With his work here and earlier on “Superman” and “Supergirl,” it’s been a great couple of years for Chang. If you haven’t seen what he’s been doing lately, take a look. You’ll like what you’ll see.