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Review – The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage #1

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The Curious Case of The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage #1
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  • Art - 8/10
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The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage #1

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Pencils: Denys Cowan
Inks: Bill Sienkiewicz
Colors: Chris Sotomayor
Letters: Willie Schubert
Maturity Rating: M
Publisher: DC Black Label
Release Date: November 20th, 2019

For Vic Sage, the faceless vigilante better known as The Question, the world is black and white. But in order for Vic to fight a new ring of corruption in Hub City, he’ll have to first solve an impossible murder – his own. 

The Curious Case of The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage #1

 

For hard-hitting Hub City news anchor Vic Sage, there are no ‘grey areas’. In the new DC Black Label series The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage #1, everything is either black or white; right or wrong. This sense of absolute morality guides him while he enacts his own brand of vigilante ‘street justice’. Calling himself The Question and donning a faceless mask, The Question is both everyone and no one. But when a new case breathes doubt into everything Vic once held true, the world’s most paranoid man must work quickly to solve an impossible murder – his own. 

Writing

Before I begin I’d like to put my cards on the table – I have never read a single The Question comic. I’m certainly familiar with the character but loosely; kind of like a celebrity making a cameo appearance on your favorite tv show. I recognize him, I can place him but I couldn’t for the life of me tell you how he ties into the DC Universe. Thank goodness for Jeff Lemire

Lemire’s Vic Sage/The Question is dark; the perfect archetype for a DC Black Label title. The foundation of The Question’s ethos is ‘mystery’; the unknown. Thankfully for readers and fans, ‘mystery’ is Jeff Lemire’s middle name (said in my best Austin Powers voice). He’s an expert when it comes to writing paranoia; a true sleuth to boot. Like an Impressionist master meticulously plying his craft, Lemire understands perhaps better than any, that the Whole is comprised of the sum of its parts. Each issue in a series is therefore like a dot on a page: you don’t gain full perspective or appreciation until its complete. 

The Curious Case of The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage #1
The Curious Case of The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage #1 (DC Comics) CA by Denys Cowan

The most important thing for a writer to keep in mind, especially when it comes to a new series, is to entice the audience to come back. This proves difficult absent the luxury of character familiarity. You’re forced into forging a new relationship right from the get-go, hoping all the while that you’ve done enough to establish or warrant a reader’s trust. I for one can confidently say that I trust Jeff Lemire. He’s bold and unafraid to wander into the realm of ambiguity with his character choices and projects. Simply put Vic Sage and The Question deserve Jeff Lemire. He is the writer they so desperately need. 

Art

I hate cover songs; rarely do they ever come close to touching the quality of the original version. Even when they do, it’s usually only because the artist did their absolute best to try and ‘copy’ the original. My question – why have a copy when you can have the real deal? 

That seems to be the collective mindset with the addition of Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz on the artistic side of the table. Cowan has been drawing The Question since the late ’80s along with Sienkiewicz providing the inks. There aren’t two people alive better suited with the task of re-launching the character and you can tell just how eager the pair seem to prove it. It’s obvious just how deeply personal and meaningful the character of Vic Cage is to both Cowan and Sienkiewicz. It’s almost as if you’re witnessing the pair get reacquainted with an old friend. 

Great coloring isn’t just necessarily what you see on a page. Great coloring is evocative, subtle, and above all else – complimentary. It should work in conjuncture with the words on the page, not in contrast to them. It’s about highlighting the mood of the panel, about synaesthetically communicating emotion on the most basic levels. It’s a profound understanding of these concepts that make Chris Sotomayor stand apart as a colorist. He is the proverbial light in the darkness, serving as both the expert and trusted guide as readers make their journey through the streets of Hub City. 

Conclusion

Trust, isn’t that what it’s all about? In life, in love, and most importantly – in comics. As I mentioned before, I trust Jeff Lemire implicitly. So much so, that I went to my local comic book store to spend my hard-earned money on a new title book for some tertiary DC character that I know little if nothing about. And do you want to know what else? I loved it. The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage #1 is gritty, packed with action, mystery, and new twists around every corner. Vic Sage possesses the detective prowess of Batman, with all the zealotry of Rorschach. He’s one seriously badass character who for the first time since his inception, is completely off his chain. Rejoice!  


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Jordan Claes

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