Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Classics - The Question #1

   Not every character can survive being updated, but The Question managed it.

   Originally created by Steve Ditko for Charlton Comics in 1967, the hero known as The Question had a terrific look (if that's the right word).

   The hero was investigative reporter Vic Sage, a hard-hitting crusader who wore the most unusual mask of them all - a putty-like construct that made his face a blank, with no visible eyes, nose or mouth.

   Other than that, he had no powers - but he was an accomplished fighter.

   The hero was revived when DC bought the rights to the Charlton Heroes (including Captain Atom and Blue Beetle), but by 1986 comics were moving into grim and gritty territory, and The Question followed suit.

    The story by Dennis O'Neil took Sage into nasty territory, investigating slimy government agencies, which brings him up against a deadly crime boss.

   It also pits him against Lady Shiva, a deadly assassin who may be too much for even The Question.

   The issue features terrific art by Denys Cowan and Rick Magyar, but what made the issue memorable was the cliffhanger ending.

   That's something that has become a regular thing - every comic wants a chic to bring the reader back next time, but I can't remember many that was more shocking - or more effective - than this one.

   You can't read those final pages without being convinced that The Question is dead - surely the next issue was going to introduce a new hero with the same name.

   Nope! Through a clever twist, O'Neil and Cowan manage to "kill" their hero - only to bring him back in the next issue.

   It was a strong series with some great stories and characters. Recommended!

Grade: A



Eh, Steve! said...

I admit I did like the O'Neil's the Question when I read it and then I hunted down Ditko's work. Sadly, that kind of ruined it a bit for me.

From Ditko's super logic based character to am I a man dreaming he's a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming he's a man- yeah that's really turning a character inside out.

Too bad. O'Neil's run was still interesting and pretty good. It felt like watching and liking movie Starship Troopers and hen reading the book Starship Troopers and then looking back at the movie.

Chuck said...

Great points, Steve - they were really two different characters. Luckily, I liked them both!