I have long talked about how I love Gail Simone’s new version of the Ventriloquist. She (and he) are utterly terrifying and causes you to shiver from head to toe. At least it causes me to shiver. Having just appeared in a recent arc of Batgirl, the character was already fresh in our minds and was already pretty fleshed out leaving only deeper fleshing out of her backstory to be done. This allowed Simone to tell one of the scariest non-horror comics I have ever read. Before I get too far ahead of myself, here is what I liked from the issue.
1. First, credit where credit is due. Derlis Santacruz did a phenomenal job putting Simone’s thrilling narrative into motion.
2. The humanity.
3. Ferdie takes a life of his own. Literally? I’m still confused and terrified as to how the two work together.
4. Shawna is frightening all by herself. Even without her puppets she can puppeteer others. Because that’s not right out of a horror film.
Rating before reading: 7
Rating after reading: 9
No surprise for Simone, she embraces the human aspect of the world. With all power gone, all criminals loose and no Batman, Gotham City is the equivalent of hell. Yet what most forget, is that normal people live in this place too. Making normal people the focal point of this issue is one of the smartest and most innovative way to tell a story. Simone blends the story of Shawna and Ferdie and matches it up with these citizens’ story of survival. We see just normal thugs in Gotham becoming Joker level threats. Add in a completely dark city, and average gangs are the equivalent of the Secret Society. Simone is able to flesh out Shawna’s origins in a dark-yet-slightly-humorous way and focus on her own little survival story. Shawna somehow gets lights on in an abandoned theatre and sets up a feast for the cold and hungry outside, asking for only their attendance in her show as compensation. No one wouldn’t take the deal given the circumstances. Simone throws us for a loop too. At one time we think the villainous duo is actually saving the average citizens. But that slowly is revealed to be false as the readers’ heart drops in horror and sorrow. I won’t spoil the ending, but it is definitely scary and sad.
Anyone else as terrified by this character as myself?
Until the next time,