Writer(s): Jeff Lemire.
Penciler(s): Denys Cowan.
Inker(s): Bill Sienkiewicz.
Colourist(s): Chris Sotomayor.
Letterer(s): Willie Schubert.
Publisher: DC Black Label.
Release Date: November 24th, 2020.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating:
The two opposing and eternal forces of good and evil have rarely been understood without a divide among mortals. There are many ways for one to determine if they are prone towards one or another but there is no guarantee that they will not tilt into the other domain at a moment’s notice. Sometimes you look at the means, sometimes you look at the ends, but always is the intention crucial to grasp one’s tendency towards good or evil. The Question is one hero who is convinced that he knows the distinction between both, that he champions the way towards good, that is, until he’s sent down a rabbit hole. Collecting all four issues, Eisner-winning writer Jeff Lemire teams up with the legendary artistic powerhouse Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz to deliver a mystery surrounding the identity of Vic Sage and his alter-ego The Question.
What is The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage about? In the hopelessly corrupt Hub City, one faceless hero roams the streets looking to dish out justice and order to anyone embracing crime. When a conspiracy leads him to the depths of the city’s underbelly, he is suddenly pulled into an adventure beyond his understanding, sending him back in time to unravel past lives he might have had despite having no memory of them. Waging his war against evil, his journey brings him to delve into the complexity of good and evil, as well as to demystify the blurry line distinguishing one from the other. However, this sequence of tragic reincarnation has left him with more questions than answers but the real query lies in his ability to break free from this vicious cycle or not.
“There is good. There is evil. And if you’re unsure which side you stand on, then chances are it’s the wrong one.”— Jeff Lemire
Writer Jeff Lemire achieves a truly unique and authentic take on the hero The Question through this four-part story. At its foundation, it is a heavily-focused noir mystery centered around politics and crime with a protagonist juggling two completely opposite personas, one completely public and transparent to the world and the other hidden in the shadows of the people. As the story progresses, the narrative drifts into a conscious-expanding quest gravitating around Vic Sage’s identity and history. It is especially during these later acts of the story that writer Jeff Lemire melds together various historical periods and explores adjacent genres, e.g. western. Although the narrative structure is flimsy towards the end, having trouble to properly take shape, it is the premise and the promise of resolution that makes this story engrossing.
Artist Denys Cowan brings to the table a rough and sketch-like artistic vision that works tremendously with this storyline. The unsure and undefined quality of his style stunningly reflects the hazy and blurred line between good and evil, subconsciously inviting readers to understand the difficulty of individuals to adopt a purely dichotomic view of the world. Inker Bill Sienkiewicz and colourist Chris Sotomayor also tap into this story’s tone to deliver the grim, dimmed, and shadow-heavy artwork. The use of black borders also easily engulfs the story in a darker atmosphere without much more effort than necessary, reminding readers of the darkness within and outside of The Question. Unfortunately, the final act rushes into a philosophical frenzy that strips the protagonist from getting the answers to the questions he craved so profoundly. In the end, this psychological odyssey leads to his ultimate transformation, a transformation that simply broadens the protagonist’s vision rather than destroy his perception of the world.
The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage is a riveting yet puzzling genre-blending mystery centered around one man’s tale of self-discovery through conspiracy and moral uncertainty.