RAGMAN #3 by Ray Fawkes and Inaki Miranda
With a fantastic second half and Inaki Miranda's consistently excellent art, RAGMAN #3 continues the tradition of potent storytelling and characterization. However, issues of pacing and a bland villain keeps this issue from perfection.
87 %
Gold Beneath the Rags
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With a dark, chaotic artstyle and a plot that brings our hero into the wider DC universe, RAGMAN #3’s only true failing is in its lackluster villain.

DC Comics’ reinvention of their fan-favorites and cult classics has been nothing short of astounding. Suddenly, characters that had little public attention pre-Rebirth have found a new foothold in a universe packed to the brim with potential. Tom King has refocused the BATMAN franchise on the human being behind the mask. Dan Abnett has returned the TITANS to their fun-loving roots. As for the obscure supernatural hero Ragman, Ray Fawkes has given him a makeover and new place in the DC Universe. As each issue has arrived, RAGMAN has told a high stakes urban fantasy drama without pause. In fact, the only disappointing factor is that the series won’t continue after issue six. Thankfully, RAGMAN #3 continues its tradition of excellence.

As Rory’s father recovers from a demon attack, Ragman uses his new powers and his free time to track down more of these monsters. Night after night, he hunts demonic forces and interrogates them for answers. Yet RAGMAN #3 doesn’t rest on its CSI laurels. As Rory’s activities become more newsworthy, characters from the Gotham City skyline pay him a visit. After the demon Etrigan makes an appearance, the pair meet and battle a former marine from Rory’s unit, Jim Fanshawe. Fanshawe has been transformed by an evil force and, through the demon attacks, helps his new master rise to Earth.

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A Whole, Wide World

RAGMAN #3 page 4. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Up to RAGMAN #3, the series has felt separate from the DC Universe as a whole. As a reboot, part of me wondered if this series even had ties to other stories. The focus was solely on Rory, exploring his character and then his relationship with his powers. However, in a brilliant world-building move, Ray Fawkes has slowly pulled the camera back. Since we now know and care about Rory’s character, Fawkes pans away to show how Ragman fits into the overarching world as a hero. While brief, the meetings with Batwoman and Etrigan feel incredibly fulfilling. They help cement the fact that Ragman is in a grander world without forgetting who he is as a person.

Meanwhile, the second half of this story snaps right back to Rory’s character. I loved this play on world-building, showing us the grander scheme of the story before quickly returning to the very reason we bought it. More importantly, seeing Rory as Ragman, feeling more comfortable in the role, feels just as fulfilling. Rory opens the story by vaguely describing the literal demons of his present superheroic battles as the demons of his past, representing his PTSD and regrets. This storyline continues throughout, giving Rory a deeper level of analytical intrigue than I had originally expected. On the other hand, his PTSD seems to have receded slightly, through his connection to the spirits of his fellow soldiers trapped within his costume.

Tears in the Rags

RAGMAN #3 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

While Ray Fawkes manages to do so much right in RAGMAN #3, the story isn’t perfect. My primary issue with this comic stems from the first half of the book. Fawkes covers so much information in the opening pages without context. We see Rory, as Ragman, stalking people in the back of a semi truck, fighting demons, and then talking to his father. The main assumption here is that a major portion of time has passed, but we don’t really get to see it. Instead, we watch little snippets of time pass by with no dialogue, no thought bubbles, and no timeline explained. It leads to a confusing couple of pages that feel rushed in execution.

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I also need to mention Jim Fanshawe. While I did enjoy the brief glimpse at his history and how he became a villain, there just didn’t seem to be any reason for me to care. The concept behind the character is fascinating. A soldier who lost his legs trying to find and aid Rory’s unit finds himself hating Rory for what happened. The drama makes a lot of sense, and the overall character design is interesting. However, he comes off almost as a bad actor, monologuing the entire time he tries to kill Rory. It doesn’t fit the style of the book so far, thus taking away from the overall experience.

Final Thoughts: RAGMAN #3

In most fields, RAGMAN #3 nails it. As always, Inaki Miranda’s art is stunning. With busy linework and vivid panels, this story couldn’t exist without Miranda’s art style. It fits the gritty action fantasy story so well. The characterization of Rory Regan has its definite moments, showcasing how Rory is healing through his bond to the suit. However, the opening sequence could’ve used some work. Despite connecting Ragman to the wider DC Canon, the story loses a lot of oomph for its lacking display of RAGMAN #3’s primary villain and the flow of major events.

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