“Devil’s in the Details”
And so ends one of the most unique and interesting DC mini-series in recent memory. In The Question, Rick Veitch and Tommy Lee Edwards deliver an intriguing storyline, one that plays out on multiple levels simultaneously due to the unique storytelling that Veitch and Edwards employ. What sounds like a standard action story in outline – the Question uncovers a group of criminals who live in the subways and rob Metropolis – becomes a fascinating multifaceted exploration of obsession, crime and life with Superman in the
hands of Veitch and Edwards. It’s bizarre, interesting and exhilarating all at the same time.
Veitch and Edwards use some very interesting tricks in this mini-series to create their unique story. Frequently they use the trick of having narrative and commentary combined with each other. Action will happen within a panel, while the Question will comment on it from another standpoint. Because of this device, we’re seeing deeper into each scene, getting an impression of it at the same time as the actual facts of the scene. This is obviously a trick Veitch learned from his days working with the great Alan Moore; like Moore, Veitch has the ability to offer multiple levels of meaning of a scene without the need for lots of explanation for the reader. It’s exhilarating and exciting, in this era where captions and thought balloons are antiques, to see a writer use them in innovative ways.
Tommy Lee Edwards’s art perfectly suits Veitch’s story. It’s glossy and flashy when it needs to be, surreal and impressionistic when the story asks for that element. His portrayal of Superman is especially effective; his Superman looks just slightly different from Christopher Reeve, while maintaining Reeve’s classic sense of the character. I can’t wait to see what Edwards works on next; based on this work, he’s already one of my favorite artists.
My favorite aspect of the book is the strange status that the Question and his alter ego Vic Sage seem to have in Metropolis. Both Vic and the Question are quiet outsiders, men who comment on the world around them but don’t seem to actually live in that world. When Jimmy Olsen teases Lois Lane about a college crush that Sage had on her, the forces that helped drive Sage to his obsessive crime fighting become revealed. He’s a loner, a brooder, a man
who fights for what he thinks is right. In many ways he’s a kind of avatar for his creator, Steve Ditko. It’s easy to see the reclusive, thoughtful Ditko in Veitch’s Vic Sage. In some ways Veitch’s Sage is a commentary on Ditko’s legacy.
This is a superlative mini-series, one that deserves a wide audience.