Vigilante #1-2

Written by Marv Wolfman
Penciled by Rick Leonardi
Inked by John Stanisci
32 pages, color
Published by DC Comics

In this current market, it can be tough to launch a new series—doubly so if the book isn’t starring a pre-existing sales success like the Punisher. So when DC Comics announced they were launching a new Vigilante series, I was actually a little surprised. While there a Vigilante title years ago, this book stars a new character with the same name. So after two issues, is there enough of a hook to bring readers into a new title?

The Vigilante is trying to find out who was really behind the "election bombings." Is it the mob? How are meta-humans involved? And what information can the Vigilante find if he puts himself behind bars?

I’ll be honest, I’ve read two issues of Vigilante and I’m still not sure what the purpose of the series is. The character is hard at this point to differentiate from any other sort of, well, vigilante. Maybe if I’d read this character’s introductory story in Nightwing I might feel different, but at the same time with this being a brand new series that shouldn’t be necessary. After two issues, the character is still an utter cipher; he’s shot people up and briefly infiltrated a prison, but I don’t know anything about him. More importantly, I can’t figure out why I would want to. There’s no hook, nothing he’s doing that’s terribly interesting. Then again, even the talk about "election bombs" had me a little bewildered on why we should care about an event we hadn’t even seen; it wasn’t until I did some Google searches that I finally figured out it was a reference to the DC Universe: Decisions mini-series.

On the bright side, though, it is nice to get a monthly dose of Rick Leonardi’s pencils. I love the way he draws characters, with their slightly blocky faces and solid bodies. They may be made of bricks, but they also move like gymnasts across the page when it comes to how graceful Leonardi handles movement; I’m continually surprised that someone of Leonardi’s talents isn’t more in-demand in comics these days. Colorist Dave Baron meshes well with Leonardi’s art, too; as menacing as Leonardi can draw Vigilante, it’s a much more dangerous-looking scene when the background is a deep glowing blood red.

In the end, the new Vigilante comic is forgettable. That’s exactly not what a new series should be, especially during a recession when the market is going to be at its most hostile. Hopefully things will pick up soon, but right now I just find myself wondering why this series was given the go-ahead. With no obvious hook to bring in readers, I have a sneaking feeling that this book might well be dead on arrival.

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