Thursday, November 22, 2012

0 DC Universe Presents #14


Writer - Marc Andreyko
Pencils - Robson Rocha
Inks - Oclair Albert
Cover - Ryan Sook
Letters - Dezy Sienty

In a fit of rage, Blue Devil goes after his grandfather's attackers. He captures one and finds out that Tobias Whale sent them to kill Blue Devil and Black Lightning, and arrives just in time to save him -- who barely talks him out of killing his grandfather's murderer. Seventy-six hours later, after giving a touching speech in rememberance of Liam Cassidy, Dan sees Jeff Pierce, an old friend from high school. When the two are away from the rest of the mourners, Dan reveals that he knows Jeff's secret identity as Black Lightning, and reveals his own as the Blue Devil. The two meet up at Graveyard Pictures, where Dan finds out in a letter from his grandpa that the "props" in his films were magical relics, and he made cheesy movies to keep the world safe. Elsewhere, Tobias Whale uses one of the relics, stolen by one of the goons sent to kill Blue Devil, to summon the demon Nebiros!

This issue had SO MUCH STUFF going on. It definitely felt better-paced than the last issue, because the plethora of details and exposition packed in to this issue didn't really feel too rushed or forced. The story has come half-circle now, featuring a prominent Black Lightning villain, and the very demon who bonded Dan Cassidy to his suit in the original Blue Devil comic series! And if that extra-long paragraph above this one isn't any indication, there was a lot to talk about aside from that.

It's interesting to see the way that the suit, actually the skin of a demon, interacts with Dan. Really, I'd go so far as to say "takes over", at one or two points, like when he almost killed Whale's goon. That's a hell of a dynamic if the character sticks around with any appearances beyond these few issues of DC Universe Presents. I like that he's got actual superpowers when he wears the suit. In the 80s, it was a suit that he'd created, and his method of flying initially was basically holding on tight to a rocket-powered trident. Now, in Dan's own words...
"Somehow, when I wear it, I can fly, I'm bulletproof, I can make fire".
On to the art... Once again, the Robson/Albert combination on pencils and inks looks great, and Eltaeb's colors suit the story well. When Dan's losing control, you can feel it in the art. The panels of him going after Whale's goons are panels that I want to see on my wall, mostly because they're large individual pieces, and have Blue Devil looking pretty badass. I'm not as thrilled with the cover, but that's mostly because it feels like it has nothing to do with the story... save for Nebiros showing up for a few panels.

Maybe I'm getting a bit too optimistic, but I'm looking forward to seeing what these next two issues bring us. It's pretty obvious that a confrontation is coming up between Nebiros and Blue Devil, who Nebiros most likely assumes is a proper demon. If that's the case, I'm picturing a 2012-updated version of their fight from 1984 -- some sort of demon-killing ability might just end up turning Daniel into the demon he's pretending to be. Well... maybe it'll be something a bit better than that.


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