Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Jesus Saiz
Publisher: DC Comics
Todayís review is brought to you by the letter Q. Q: Still the least respected letter in the alphabet! Sorry, Iíve always wanted to use one of those Sesame Street-isms in a review! Seriously, Crime Bible has two Q-related elements that had me very excited to pick it up. First, the main character is the Question, who Iíve been a big fan of since his Ď80s series written by Denny OíNeil. Of course, this is the Renee Montoya version of the character, but after my positive experiences with the original in his own series, I knew I had to give her a shot. Secondly, the mini-series is written by Greg Rucka, one of my favorite writers due mainly to his work on Queen & Country. Plus, the R in Rucka is only one letter away fromÖNever mind.
In a nutshell, I thought there was little chance that Crime Bible could fail due to the principles involved. Well, after a fairly good first issue, issue #2 was a severe disappointment, as it contained a story that just doesnít work in the space of 22 pages, leaving a story that felt very incomplete. I know that each issue focuses on a different lesson from the Crime Bible and Montoyaís efforts to stop Cainís followers, but there has to be proper character and story development in this short form, and this issue falls well short of that goal. Itís a collection of bits and pieces of a longer story with wooden characters.
The issue mainly consists of Montoya/Questionís infiltration of a D.C. madameís lair, seeking to prevent a military officer from being corrupted by the evil of lust, wielded by Mother Superior, Abigail Lincoln-Gray. Living in the Washington, DC area, this story hit home since the DC Madame story was a huge deal earlier this year, with ripples still being felt around town. However, whatever intrigue or suspense worth culling from this fresh idea are ruined by Ruckaís lackluster execution. The main thing that stood out for me was the wooden, cold characters that Rucka creates in this issue. Near the end, you donít really care if the Question saves the Colonelís soul or the female he is about to sacrifice because there is no emotional connection with the characters. Now, this lack of connection could also be due to the hurried nature of the story, which really gives you no insight into the Colonelís true personality. All you know is that he is addicted to lust and is being blackmailed because of it. But, this kind of plot device doesnít work unless we have some reason to either like or dislike the character in question. I donít feel anything for the Colonel or any of the other victims of Mother Superiorís brothel, so I didnít really care if Montoya brought it down or not. Plus, Montoyaís investigation is slightly ridiculous: Whatís taking her so long to take down this brothel? Whatís the point of playing hard-go-get with the Lilith hooker for eight weeks? Itís always a bad sign when you just donít care what happens in a comic book, hoping that a great fight might break out to offer some excitement. Unfortunately, the only action in this issue is a one page smack-down that really doesnít deliver the goods, which wouldnít be that big a deal if the rest of the issue had displayed some semblance of dramatic intensity. A comic that has to do with the highly emotional sin of lust should have characters full of zest, so itís sad to see such stoic characters associated with this concept.
The lone bright spot for issue #2 was the great artwork by Jesus Saiz, who is quickly becoming one of the finest artists in the mainstream DC bullpen. His facial expressions (the few that were present) were nicely detailed, and the movements and poses of the characters were very realistic, which is appropriate for this kind of mature work. The mise-en-scene of the panels told the story nicely, almost better than the words that Rucka provided. All in all, it was a really nice job in conjunction with a sub-par story.
The next lesson we will read in Crime Bible is greed, so I hope that the powerful emotions that would usually go hand in hand with greed are present. Plus, we have a Batwoman appearance, which should offer some interesting scenes with Montoya.
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!