Writer: Marv Wolfman / Artist: Alisson Borges / DC Comics
After Raven #1 got us started on this 6-part series we were introduced to a new side of our girl, newly arrived in San Francisco and learning how to teen like a regular teen. It was hilarious, as Raven isn’t exactly well known for her charm, and it set the stage for a great miniseries of personal exploration, a microcosm Raven’s own coming of age in certain respects. She’s learning to trust that other people truly love and care for her, for no selfish reasons of their own, and she’s beginning to increasingly feel that way for these new cast members in her life. Issue #1 also introduced the mystery of the series in the form of an unknown empath, one more powerful than Raven herself, and someone she knows nothing about except the overwhelming pain that can come from them being in others’ heads. Much was established in issue #1, which was well planned, as issue #2 doesn’t wait in making this a high-stake conflict for Raven and the very lives of those she’s met. Raven #2 steps on the accelerator.
The series balances seriousness with dry comedy – obviously fitting for a character like Raven – and can often pull them off simultaneously in the same scene. Raven finds herself speaking with other teenagers in the school cafeteria and, in response to the concern of a missing person, separates her soul from her body to go investigate; yet the other teenagers were so obnoxious that it also seemed as if Raven just had enough listening to them and her spirit just left her body – an ability we all wish we had in a situation to which each of us can relate. But while there are several scenes lightened with misanthropic humor, Raven #2 better introduces the immense danger that is no longer content to loom around the story plot. Those dark scenes are made darker when there aren’t any jokes to be made, no internal quips from Raven’s maladjustment, just doubt and terror. It makes Raven an engaging, super dynamic comic.
Yet the anchor of the series has to be attributed to Alisson Borges’ artwork. With gorgeous layouts and beautifully dark scenes, Borges not only captures the spirit of Raven but does it with some of the most well crafted sequences I’ve read this year. This comic is visually stunning, and downright beautiful.
Raven is a ridiculously pleasant surprise with amazing artwork, heart, mystery, and comedy. We’re a third into the series and, if the ceiling can get higher from here, this will be one of my favorite short series in recent memory. Read this book and see where it goes from here.