Raven: Daughter of Darkness #1 // Review
Raven: Daughter of Darkness is a 12 issue mini series that sees the return of co-creator Marv Wolfman to the helm. Wolfman hasn’t penned a Raven series since 2016. Pop Mahn joins Wolfman on art, having previously worked on The Flash, Batgirl and Injustice: Ground Zero. Rounding out the team is colorist Lovern Kindzierski, who has noted works with Lobo, Dr. Who and the Shame trilogy. Raven’s significance and exposure as a character has definitely increased over the years, thanks to the popularity of the Teen Titans. Hopefully this mini series will open new doors for Raven and other characters she’s associated with. It’s been some time since Raven has had her own title, so it will be interesting to see what the future holds after the conclusion of this miniseries.
Wolfman returns to the character he created with George Perez in the 80s. Raven, also known as Rachel Roth, has gone through a variety of looks since her debut. Most appearances see her as a moody teen, very closed off from her teammates. Wolfman treats the reader to a very open and optimistic hero, someone that cares deeply for non-super friends and is trying to have a normal family life. However, a mysterious man named Baron Winters, is seen watching the events of Raven’s life unfold through a grand fireplace. His tone is very somber and cryptic, dropping subtle hints of events that are yet to play out. Winters is having a discussion with a large spotted leopard named Merlin about how Raven will need to die on Christmas Eve to help balance the scale of good and evil. Wolfman has set the reader up in this first issue with some huge implications of things to come, as these two characters are on a collision course in the near future.
Pop Mahn’s art in this book sets a great tone of things to come. Earlier versions of Raven had her face cloaked by her hood or covered by her hair. Here, Mahn gives the reader a fresh faced version of Raven with bright blue eyes. She has a short and tousled hairstyle, giving the character more personality and a contemporary look. The redesign of Raven’s costume from Rebirth also has some notable differences from previous incarnations. Raven’s gloves in particular stand out. Looking very beastly with red talons, Mahn gives them sharp edges and makes them pop off the pages. Trigon, Raven’s demon father makes an appearance, as well. He has never looked more terrifying. Mahn has taken the design of this character to a new level, and will be a major player in later issues.
Lovern Kindzierski makes wonderful use of the darker color palettes. Raven, usually all in black, has red highlights in her hair and accents in her costume that break up the overall dark aesthetic. Baron Winters scenes are all in front of a roaring fireplace that almost let you feel the heat with all its vibrant color. An opening scene on the beach at night gives up a warm, starlit sky and the welcoming glow of a bonfire.
The team working on this book seem to be a good fit together. Wolfman knows this character inside and out. What will be interesting is to see what new developments he can make with her character in 12 issues. Mahn brings an interesting style to the table, with soft and vulnerable characters designs mixing with harsh and stoic. Kindzierski ability to make the most out of the darker colors that dominate the book, will no doubt shine through this mini series.