By: Rob Liefeld and Mark Poulton (story), Mark Poulton (script), Owen Gieni (art and color)

The Story: Devil in the Flesh, Part 2 of 3: Avengelyne, in her new body, faces the Red Dragon, a mortal enemy, wearing her old body. The knife-wielding lunatic Torment strikes again, while a friend returns, packing Jesus Fire.

What’s Good: Gieni on art chores was once again a pleasure to watch. His stylized characters were full of small bits of personality in the detail, like Tegan’s nose piercing and striped socks in the snow, or the fine detail on Heaven’s tattoos, or the uneven grin of Torment. Likewise, the soft backgrounds in the setting, especially the snow, had an ethereal feel. And the plentiful action sequences were clear and dynamic. Passover descending, while a bit overly postured, was an impressive sight. Kudos to the artwork.

What’s Not So Good: While I again enjoyed the art of Avengelyne, I found very little to appreciate in the execution of the writing. It felt cliché’d. Such unoriginal duds as “For years I watched you make a fool of my minions, from the ever incompetent B’liale…”, “I knew it was my chance to strike” and “Tell me, Angel, what is it like to look into the face of death?” appeared at moments when sharp, fresh dialogue would have added character and tension. In fact, none of the dialogue seemed to reveal character through surprises to the reader. Moreover, some dialogue could have been moved to text boxes with far better results. As is, Poulton had characters delivering background information to the reader with their own words. Lastly, I think the positioning of the villainess/villain in the conflict was zero-dimensional. Villainous cackling and nefarious rejoicing disappeared from good writing somewhere between the Wicked Witch of the West and Doctor No, and did nothing here to make the villain more fearsome, or the hero’s challenge more difficult.

Conclusion: Attractive packaging, but I’m not convinced after two issues that this is a story that needs telling. Inadequately developed characters using stale dialogue lent this story no emotional impact. Not recommended.

Grade: D+

-DS Arsenault

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