Reviewer: Mathan “Just got in from the club” Erhardt
Story Title: One Last Drink At The End Of Time
Written by: Bill Willingham
Penciled by: Justiniano
Inked by: Walden Wong
Lettered by: Pat Brosseau
Colored by: Chris Chuckry
Cover by: Walt Simonson
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Publisher: DC Comics
The issue begins in Arkham Asylum in the cell of Jean Loring. Jean is having a conversation with a rather interesting gemstone; a black diamond. Jean is reluctant to agree to what the diamond wants, but eventually relents. She picks up the diamond and begins to transform into Eclipso. She then proceeds to break out and her closing words are very ominous.
The next scene is set three weeks later on the streets of Gotham City. Ragman is on patrol. He hunts and captures his prey; a murder, whose soul becomes part of Ragman’s suit.
Ragman then finds himself transported to a wooded area where he finds The Enchantress. He comes to her aid and she tells him a tale of a rampaging Spectre who is slaughtering anyone who stands it. She explains who has fallen and why. Ragman then transports Enchantress and himself away from harm.
Then find themselves at the Oblivion Bar, a kind of “Cheers” for those magically inclined members of the DC Universe. Immediately half told tales of faltering powers and fallen compatriots are overheard from the mouths of some well known (and less well known) members of the DCU. As the narrator, Ragman explains who works at the bar, while Enchantress explains why her group of magicians was gathered in the first place.
Enchantress tries to rile up the troops to attack The Spectre, but Ragman counters that the more powerful characters, Phantom Stranger, Dr. Fate and the like, will arrive to save the day. And then Detective Chimp speaks.
He claims that the Phantom Stranger has been reduced to a mouse. He then offers his support for the Enchantresses idea. The issue ends with Captain Marvel and Shazam. Shazam is planning on preparing for a battle and asks that Captain Marvel serve as a diversion for his enemy, no matter the cost.
Willingham has pulled off an incredible trifecta with this issue. Firstly he made me care about a “magical” story. Usually these types of stories don’t interest me, but this one is a thriller. Secondly he revived my interest in Ragman. I liked the original incarnation, but the Post Crisis one left me flat. Willingham has managed to make him seem refreshing again. Lastly he made Detective Chimp rock! Now many may argue that talking chimpanzees with detective skills inherently rock, but Willingham makes him the hero and common sense of the book. Basically, this book is a phenomenal read.
Justiniano and Wong should never be separated. While I’m enjoying their work on Human Race seeing them tackle established DCU characters is a treat. Ragman has never looked better. And scanning the background of Oblivion Bar for cameos is a very rewarding treat. And again, they make Detective Chimp seem hardboiled, grizzled and a chimpanzee.