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The Possessed #1

Posted: Tuesday, July 22, 2003
By: Cody Dolan



ďHide and SeekĒ

Writer: Geoff Johns & Kris Grimminger
Artist: Liam Sharp

Publisher: DC/Cliffhanger/Wildstorm

Plot:
Five people that have each been previously possessed by demons band together to fight possession in the modern day. We learn too little about them; the issue ends.

Comments:
As was to be expected, this issue is all set-up; granted itís pretty good, but even the best set-up falls a little flat when thatís all there is (I cut and pasted this line from my Arrowsmith review; not such a good week for new titles, is it?). 22 pages later I still donít know much about these five people, and I should given thatís the purpose of set-up issues. Based on their tattoos, piercings, and attire, Iíd guess they were the rock stars of the demon hunting world; but other than that the writers play this one a bit to close to the vest.

There are some genuinely cool (and I donít use that word often) ideas in the story, and that redeems many of its faults. After the homage to ďThe ExorcistĒ is over, the book starts to kick a little butt. Weíre treated to a priest that forces demons out by any means necessary and his gun-toting partners ready to blow the hell out of the demon once it takes corporeal form. I donít think the term ďhardcoreĒ has ever been more appropriate.

Itís not until after the demon is dispatched that we learn anything about the protagonists. Unfortunately, it comes in chunks of inelegant exposition that is too obviously exposition as well as in bits of rather corny dialogue that donít belong in the book. We can all see that the demon has left the girl so thereís no reason to say ďItís out. Vulnerable,Ē or the just plain awful ďTime to get conventional.Ē

The idea that the possession Burroughs, the priest that appears to be the teamís leader, went through was so tough he had to re-learn how to walk and talk at age seven is so powerful I hope itís mentioned again. The father-daughter combo on the team could prove a good storytelling device if I werenít so sure one of them will sacrifice themselves for the other. Regrettably thatís all the writerís had space for, leaving me craving more quiet moments and less action.

Liam Sharpís art is serviceable, but at times I found it hard to tell what was going on. I know itís supposed to be a dark book, but I donít think much would be lost by easing up on the inks. The amount of detail in each panel is inconsistent as is the effectiveness of the panel layout. The flow of the book is interrupted at time because of this, and I finished the book with a negative impression of the art that isnít all that bad. Iím a big fan of clarity, and at times this book is far from it.

Final Word:
Geoff Johns is one of my favorite writers, so it pains me to say I didnít love this book. Instead of the home run Iíve come to expect on The Flash, Johns manages a stand-up double. I liked it, sure, but Iím conflicted over whether or not Iíll pick up the next issue. If you like horror comics, this book will probably suit you better than most other books published today.



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