Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Question: The Five Books of Blood Trade Paperback Review

The Question: The Five Books of Blood
DC Comics
Softcover Trade Paperback
128 pages
$14.99 (2009)
$19.99 (2008) Hardcover
ISBN 9781401223359

Contributors: Greg Rucka, Tom Mandrake, Matthew Clark, Manuel Garcia, Steve Lieber, Diego Olmos, Jesus Saiz, Jimmy Palmiotti, David Baron, Santi Arcas, Javier Mena, Steve Wands, and covers by John Van Fleet

Reprints: 52 Aftermath: Crime Bible: The Five Lessons of Blood #1-5 (of 5)

Synopsis: After the startling events of 52, Vic "Charlie" Sage has passed the mantle of The Question to ex-cop Renee Montoya.  She first encountered the 'crime bible' in Gotham and ended up saving the life of Batwoman (her former lover).  Now she is obsessed with tracking down all of the copies of the accursed book across the globe.

She learns of a monk from the crime faith (where he teaches brutal martial arts and torture techniques) selling a rare original bible in Gotham.  He baits a trap for her and she must chase him across Europe.  In order to gain information she goes undercover as a patron at a brothel and ends up falling for her escort. 

Is her obsession with the crime bible evidence of something deeper and darker in her soul?  Will she succumb to this dark side or remain the untouchable hero?  A final showdown with the monk puts her to the test!

Pros: Neat digital covers by Van Fleet, Rucka's depiction of Montoya is excellent, extra 'journal of Renee Montoya' included in collected edition

Cons: Too many artists, the crime religion is kind of hokey, ending felt rushed and final showdown was hard to believe

Mike Tells It Straight: Rucka brings us the next stage of Renee Montoya's adventures after becoming the Question II and saving Batwoman's life.  She continues to search for the crime bibles and is almost consumed by her obsessions.  You must read the entire 52 series as a prerequisite to this book in order to understand the shift from Vic Sage (Question I) to Montoya.

This mini-series was originally run as a 52 Aftermath book titled Crime Bible: The Five Lessons of Blood, but it got a name change to promote The Question character (which is a good idea). 

I found this story to be passable with some decent character writing, but I just never bought into the crime religion thing.  The wide cast of artists was jarring from issue to issue as well.  If you really enjoyed The Question parts of 52 then here is your next installment.  Otherwise, as a standalone storyline, this book is run of the mill.

TO BUY and Recommendations: