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Sunday, December 11, 2005

THE QUESTION by O'Neil/Cowan #31 - #36

Bit late on this, as I had misplaced one of the issues. Finishing up the "monthly" run of the book, with Malcolm Jones III still the regular inker.

#31 - "Boom. The End." sees some old housing projects, where Vic once lived, scheduled for demolition. Unfortunately some street gang squatters have other ideas, and take Myra hostage in there. A very simple but effective issue, with a lot of nice touches that point towards the eventual end of the series, the importance of Vic's childhood experiences to his current place.

This issue also has a pin-up of Vic and Tot in a library where Vic peruses a printout of the Recommended Reading List to date, which is cute.

#32 - "The Peacemaker" is a bit of an oddity as the main characters don't really figure into the main story. Vic and Myra appear in a few pages in the middle, furthering his own inner conflicts, but the main story is about a Vietnam vet who is brought into a neighbourhood watch program, and his own flashbacks and reactions. Not a totally successful departure, but it had its moments, including a rather depressing ending.

#33 - "Harold" is the last of this stretch of single issue stories, and introduces a character who would eventually go on to a regular supporting gig in the Batman books, the mute mechanical genius hunchback of the title. The main story this time revolves around a psycho killer being hired by a judge to kill Myra, forcing her and her daughter on the run where they're fortunately helped by Harold while Vic is mostly ineffective.

#34 - "were it not that I have bad dreams" begins the final story arc for the series, with Carlos Garzon guest inking. The city spirals into even worse chaos, and Vic is unable to handle it, finally cracking amidst exhaustion and hallucinations about his mother. Myra handles her problems a bit better, and Richard Dragon finally comes to town to help. I like bits of this issue a lot, but overall not one of my favourites, especially with the art looking very rushed.

#35 - "Let Nothing You Dismay" brings Izzy into the crisis-of-confidence party, as he pursues a Question impersonator, while Myra and Richard continue the search for Vic. A good issue, but mostly just a warm-up for the grand finale...

#36 - "Or Maybe Gomorrah" brings it all to a close, with several brilliant bits, Richard's revelation being on the top of that list. Don't want to spoil that for anyone who hasn't read it, but it took me by surprise. Anyway, it's a good resolution to the series, as Vic finally decides he has to leave Hub City, and Myra decides she can't. A fitting end to a great series, sometimes I think they should have stopped here, as some of the subsequent stuff, while entertaining, detracts from the ending as Vic keeps returning to the Hub.

Still to come, a GREEN ARROW Annual, some QUARTERLY issues, the RETURN and a few other appearances of Vic Sage.

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