The final issue of DC’s resurrected title’s month may have spilled into February, but it’s worth the wait. “The Question” returns for a thirty-seventh issue and the creative team from that series, Dennis O’Neil and Denys Cowan, team with current Question writer Greg Rucka to resurrect Vic Sage/Charlie as a Black Lantern. This issue acts as a good meeting of the two different Questions’ worlds as the legacy of Vic Sage is touched upon, while Renee Montoya proves herself a worthy successor.
The issue begins with a quick recap of Vic Sage’s life and, then, Professor Aristotle ‘Tot’ Rodor and Renee, knowing what’s happening around the world with the Black Lanterns, prepare for the possible resurrection of Charlie. The arrival of Lady Shiva complicates matters as she challenges Renee to a fight to prove herself. Rucka and O’Neil approach this issue with originality as Tot not only knows Charlie will return, but is hoping for it: a Black Lantern Question will be able to give him answers about life and death that no one else could. Not only that, but the resolution of the confrontation with the Black Lantern is very interesting and unique that plays upon their senses emotions in others.
For all its originality and cleverness, this issue doesn’t deviate from the other “Blackest Night” tie-ins too much as it still essentially follows the pattern of dead hero comes back and fights people close to him or her. Tot’s curiosity or Shiva’s ingenuity can’t mask that basic pattern. It’s executed well here, but after months of this, even the smartest iteration of the pattern will be old and tired. Had this issue came out earlier into the event, it would have read much better.
Another area where this issue does quite well is the art as Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz’s sketchy, messy style fits the subject matter of a person rising from the dead on a rainy night. The Black Lantern Question looks suitably dead with a torn coat and ugly non-face that still reminds us that he isn’t who he once was. The fights between Renee and Shiva, and then everyone against the Black Lantern Question both contain a lot of energetic action. Despite the heavy blacks and lines to depict the rain, everything is clear and easy to understand. More than anything, the look of the art matches the tone of the story without relying on overt extreme violence or grotesqueness, a weakness of the various “Blackest Night” books.
The return of “The Question” for this “Blackest Night” tie-in is an entertaining and clever read, but can’t escape the formulaic pattern of every other tie-in issue. Taken alone, it reads much better than when put in context with the event. For fans of the Question (either one), it will surely entertain.