Red Circle: The Hangman #1 - Review
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Art by Tom Derenick
Hex’s score: 2 out of 5
I have been intrigued about the Red Circle line since it was first announced, having not picked up the previous Impact line from DC (which mostly featured the same characters) the idea of new vigilantes and heroes for the DCU written by J. Michael Straczynski appealed to me.
So the first issue arrived last week and started off with the Hangman. I liked the cool design of the character and looked forward to reading this so much that it was at the top of my stack, but by the end of the book I was a bit disappointed.
Why? Well it started pretty good, our main character Dr. Dickering is a doctor in the Union army during the American Civil War who is captured behind enemy lines by the confederates and sentenced to be hanged for spying, even though he was actually delayed by attending to an injured confederate soldier. This is where the story goes a bit down hill for me.
Upon his death he is met by a spiritual servant of either Satan or God, this is left unclear to our hero but he has to choose whether to continue to the after life, the risk that it could be Heaven or Hell, or take the chance to work for his unknown employer as an avenging vigilante for all time. He obviously decides the latter and we have a brief glimpse of his legendary tales through the ages battling evil. We jump to the present where the Hangman by day is a head doctor at a hospital emergency ward and at night morphs into the hangman to continue his work against evil.
Now the first thing that bugged me about this issue is that we see the Hangman battling some thugs and getting shot. We learn that he is basically immortal, and that right there limits the stories that can be told about him. Why are we really going to care about the dangers this character may be in if he can never die? The second irritating thing is that he only changes to the Hangman at sunset, like a Werewolf or Vampire; he can only come out to play at night? Why? The last thing that annoyed me was the main character has a Tony Stark style moustache by day, but when he turns into the Hangman the moustache disappears!?!? What’s the point of that? He either rocks the facial hair or not. It's just pointless.
The art was pretty nicely done by Derenick (apart from the moustache issue) but all in all this was a pretty generic origin issue. I’m not sure why I should have expected anything else but I just wanted the issue to hook me on to the character a little more and get me more excited about his future adventures. Right now I’m only mildly interested. This is definitely not an essential pick up. I will continue with this Red Circle One-Shots to see how I feel after the introduction of all the new characters in the Red Circle family. Next up is Inferno, hitting this week.
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