"Raven: Daughter of Darkness #5" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by DC Comics
Written by Marv Wolfman
Illustrated by Pop Mhan
Colored by Lovern Kindzierski
Lettered by Saida Temofonte
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on May 30th, 2018
It's safe to say that Raven has daddy issues. I mean, they're a bit stranger than the typical kind because her father is the demon Trigon who wants to take over the world. In order to do that, he must first break through the dimensional divide and get here. That looks to be closer than ever as Raven and her mother, Arella, have been captured by a military organization that aims to use them to bring the demon forth and creating an army of supernatural warriors.
A chunk of Raven: Daughter of Darkness is spent with a scientist outlining the military group's plan in detail. He has Raven where he wants her, so why not spend some time with a monologue chronicling his journey up until this point? It is a little dry, but rather chilling. Essentially, Raven is the only child of Trigon that has survived. All the other attempts have been met with death, building a pile of countless bodies of women and deformed infants.
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This is shown in a heartbreaking double-page spread splattered with images of young demonic children writhing in pain. Artist Pop Mhan shows the innocence in these kids, despite their monstrous appearance. They didn't ask for any of this, but they're being tortured and experimented on nonetheless.
The scientist and his lab appear very sterile and cold. This is all matter-of-fact to him as he prepares a procedure that will use Raven to open a portal and pull a huge demon through. You wouldn't know that from how he acts. He's like a dentist getting a patient ready for a root canal.
When the procedure begins, it is absolute chaos. Yellow energy surges out of the gem on Raven's head as reality is torn open above her. It's a great contrast to the calm albeit tense nature of the earlier scenes. Colorist Lovern Kindzierski fills this scene with terror as the shadows converge with this yellow lightning.
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Trigon appears first in shadow, then in all his demonic glory, towering over the lab as he begins to reach through to our world. The design for Trigon is classic yet effective. You understand his power the moment you see him. He's massive in size and looks super creepy with is double set of eyes and antlers. As part of his attempt to reach our world, he sends out these spindly arms to grab on to anything they can. These are smaller and skinnier than Trigon's large frame, but much more unsettling, especially since they seem to come out of his wrists.
The aspects of the comic that focus on Raven are exciting and pull you in, but the story loses some momentum when that focus shifts to some of the weaker supporting characters, like her friends at school. There are two pages dedicated to the custody battle of one of her friends who may have to move away. I understand this is a big deal to this girl, but I just don't care, as I'm not invested in her as a character.
We're approaching the halfway point of Raven: Daughter of Darkness. If the midpoint involves tearing open the fabric of reality, I can only imagine where writer Marv Wolfman will take the series next. Every time Trigon is involved, things get big and terrifying. This comic is no different.