Pencils: Philip Tan
Inks: Jonathan Glapion, Jeff de los Santos, Walden Wong
Color: Ian Hannin, Nei Rufino
Letters: John J. Hill
What's it about?
The world is in the midst of a Crisis. The New Gods are coming to earth, the anti life equation is spreading among humanity claiming civilians and superheros alike. It heralds the arrival of Darkseid and his subordinates, dedicated to evil, corruption and violence.
Renee Montoya, aka The Question, is hunting down Sister Wrack, a devotee of the Crime Bible which foretells the coming of Cain, the first murderer, and the end of the world. the Spectre, God's angel of vengeance, is punishing those guilty of murder, rape and other grievous sins. Suddenly he is drawn to Renee, holding her accountable for sins past. During their struggle God's angel of mercy, Radiant, arrives and the three of them join forces to defeat Cain and save the townsfolk around them from the anti life equation.
Much like Final Crisis: Rogues Revenge, this was originally released as a five issue tie in to DC's Final Crisis event. It's one of the better mini series that accompanied this event. While it enhances the readers understanding of Final Crisis, it also reads equally well as a standalone story and works well as a route in to Final Crisis proper.
It is an enthralling read and a decent action story that also manages to debate the nature of justice, vengeance and mercy. The writer, Greg Rucka, is generally acknowledged as being very good, and as per his usual style, this book is a character study as much as an action event. Despite it's Christian framework it never comes across like a sermon or lecture. Above all, it is a superhero story about the Apocalypse, not a theological treatise.
The prominent characters are Crispus Allen and Renee Montoya, both ex members of the Gotham City Police Force. They were partners until Allen was murdered (and transformed into the Spectre). Renee later left the force and took up the mantle of the Question, in the 4 volume series 52. Crispus is Black and Renee is of Hispanic descent and gay. You don't often get to see characters of colour headlining stories, so this is a rare treat for those looking for books away from the overwhelmingly white universe.
Renee Montoya, being a badass
I mentioned above that Spectre punishes rapists. Be assured that there are no rape scenes in the book although a couple of pages allude to it.
What's bad about it?
The first issue (chapter) in the book is rather violent. This is not to say that the rest of the book isn't but there is certainly more violence in issue one than the rest. Lets just say that the Spectre's punishments generally align with the 'eye for an eye' philosophy. It's not gratuitous, but I suspect was put in to satisfy the regular comics audience as one hated villain gets his comeuppance in a grisly manner.
On that note we shall move on to..
What's the art like?
It's very modern, has probably been coloured digitally and is quite glossy. As it's set in Gotham and deals with a dark subject matter the inks are appropriately heavy and there are usually a lot of shadows in each panels.
Having said that, it's also a book of contrasts and blocky colours. Pages and scenes will use a particular colour or tone for dramatic emphasis, and there's a lot of double page spreads. It's certainly got an epic feel to it - as in, the action is so immense the only way you can get it on the page is to use double page spreads and big panels.
For further reading, may we recommend:
To find out more about the day that evil won, read Final Crisis, Final Crisis: Rogues Revenge, Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds and Final Crisis Companion.
To read more about Renee Montoya, try The Question: 5 Books of Blood and 52 volumes one, two, three and four.
To read more about the Huntress, try Huntress Year One.