Script: Frank Tieri
Art: Felix Ruiz, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Rachel Deering
Cover: Tim Bradstreet
Variant Cover: Mike Huddleston
Dark Circle continues to cement their down and dirty style onto the comic racks, with the second issue of The Hangman.
Mikey Minetta has a bit of problem. Following on from last issue, he has an audience with a deity of sorts, after running a gauntlet of his own making. But Mikey is ok, he is a traditional “wise guy”, always ready with a cutting quip or smart mouth response, seemingly happy with his lot in afterlife. Still, this being the place downstairs, not upstairs, very rarely do residents have a choice. Mikey is no exception, having to decide on which hell he will endure.
This book is written by current Catwoman scribe Frank Tieri and very much like his Dark Circle stablemate Duane Swierczyski, both of whom toiled at DC on books that had a number of problems, his writing is a revelation. Whilst this issue kind of starts in familiar territory, Tieri excels on the conversation element of the book. The interactions between Mikey and the Devil are the best bits of the book, sandwiched between a couple of expected start and more than expected end.
Art is provided by Felix Ruiz, the style of the art fitting the book brilliantly. It is as if Dark Circle are trying to create their own house style; where Zenescope goes for curvy covers with clean lines, here Dark Circle are at the diametrically opposite end of the scale. Ruiz’ art looks like an even scratchier Klaus Janson. Kelly Fitzpatrick provides the colors. Please do not let the lack of any great scope of colors detract from the excellent work done by Fitzpatrick in creating the fire and brimstone.
This book, whilst having a couple of cliché moments, serves to show how flexible Tieri can be stylistically. Dialogue is definitely his strength, in my opinion and this shows in Catwoman and here. There are quite a few creators, writers especially, who are seemed to be working on Big Two books, keeping the chains moving, which allows them to get uber-creative on a smaller press books. This book is an example of where the impressive dialogue of Tieri is slightly let down by the plot, although this where the cultivation of work can benefit both the reader and the writer.