by Michael Vance & Dr. Jon Suter
May 12, 1999
Reviews in this issue:
The Scythe - Sister Armageddon
The line between humor and horror is razor thin.
Tied to a chair, watching the rape of his wife and her murder and the slaughter of his child sent him over that line.
He is The Scythe, a death mask seemingly stitched to his face, lost in a massive cloak and obsessed with vengeance.
He is a single issue comic book that, in a standardized test, hits high marks.
Indeed, The Scythe hits a lot.
He strikes at self-obsession by kidnapping a petty criminal, locking him in an abandoned tenement, and testing brutal weaponry on the thug.
The Scythe's standard was set by Batman, not originality. This is a grim, gritty morality tale of obsession in darkened alleys, laced with bat-violence, bat-death and bat-vigilante justice.
But Batman never crossed over the razor thin line into madness.
What separates the 'blade' from the bat's standard is style.
What earns The Scythe high marks is art. Describing its angular, quirky, scratchy art with words is hopeless. Stripped of technical expertise, talent is, after all, a gift and inexplicable.
This inexplicable art by Ed Herrera is outstanding.
Its plot and characterization are also a cut above most superhero comics. Particularly, the Personality twists in this dark, brooding madman are singular and intriguing. Both these strengths offset an occasional excessive use of repetition in a segment using the word "laughter" as a segue between panels.
"Where family...laughs. Laughter that's pure... laughter that offers release... laughter when his wife... laughter when he taught... laughter when he broke... laughter when he carried..."
Laughter that irritates.
While The Scythe is not for young children, its depictions of violence aren't excessively graphic, and it is... highly recommended.
The Scythe #1/25 pgs., $2.95,Caliber Comics/Gregg Kendrick, writer. Sold in comic shops and by mail.
Sister ArmageddonA band of nuns with big guns battle to close "The Pit" and stem its flood of demons. Well written but weakened by its art, Sister Armageddon #1 [Cats-comb Publications] shows more promise than polish.
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