“Quaint” is the first word that popped into my head as I closed the back cover on this comic. It’s a quaint story that summarizes the legacy – DC’s pride and joy – of the Ragman. Gage sets this issue up as a conversation between Ragman (Rory Regan) and Rabbi Mandel. The conversation takes a therapeutic approach that reflects back upon Rory’s life and also allows Rory to tackle a specter that has been haunting his consciousness.
Gage’s conversation and history lesson are filled with fact and comic book fact, offering insight to the past persecution of Jewish people while weaving in lessons of the Ragman’s ability to aid those people. Of course when the weight of the world is upon the shoulders of one man, failures are frequently more severe and more strongly criticized than the (seemingly) smaller successes. Although much of this comic is focused on reflection and remembrance, Gage manages to intersperse some excitement, action, and opportunity for more tales of the tattered tatterdemalion. Some of the reflections are of times past and stories told – Ragman’s origin and his teaming up with Batman – and some of them offer new yarns not yet spun, like Ragman fighting alongside Jonah Hex, for example.
Segovia offers up some nice art for this story, fitting for a character whose costume is stitched patchwork in motion. The suit seems a little too tight at points throughout the story, but the composition of the suit, the detailed background, and the variance in storytelling devices and panel set-up offer more to hold the reader’s interest. Segovia gives the world of Ragman a lived in look that stretches throughout the entire book and all of the settings therein. Curiel does a good job of coloring this issue in a realistic, equally lived-in style. Nothing is shiny, new, or bright. Everything has a layer of dust or debris to it, but in a good way.
This comic does a nice job of encapsulating the Ragman, explaining who he is, and defining him for future use. It’s a fine origin tale for both Ragman and the new reader. It embraces the approachability that should come with being a one-shot comic book. Sure, it could have used a little more action and adventure, but Gage settles into this character with this issue and I cannot help but think this is just the beginning of a further exploration of this one-time member of the “Shadowpact.” I have nothing to base that on, save the same hope that Rory’s father had when he opened his shop in America. Ragman is one of the rare gems of the DC Universe that needs a little more panel time in order to be a little more recognized and appreciated. A one-shot is a nice start for that. More please.