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Spotlight on Crime Bible: The Five Lessons of Blood, Written by Greg Rucka. Art : ‘various artists’. Covers: by John Van Fleet

Posted by Adrian on January 16, 2008

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(Cover for Lust by John Van Fleet, Crime Bible: The Five Lessons of Blood #2)

I like DC it’s messy, I mean there are so many things on on at once, it has the multi universes, 52 know alternative realities, with versions (albeit indifferent versions) of the whole DC universe (that we know and love, you know Batman, superman etc etc). The knack is when the writers can join the continuity of so much activity, or do they need to? The DC multi universe is one big active, self perpetuating constant lifestyle of fictitious situations. That is what is cool about it, you can pick up one book look at at, sure it relates to the other publication, but it doesn’t matter. Stories are self contained dramas, all connected to the multi dimensional story telling of the DC universe.

DC has a maturity about their publications, thankfully they do not have those dreadful rating systems that Marvel has on their comics, ‘T is for teens’ etc. To me that is a hindrance to any writer, that his (or her) story may end up being slapped with a rating (possible deemed by the editor); ridiculous concept. Comics could and should push new ideas and new ground, with both art and story telling. DC seems to be able to do this, even if you have a fondness for the characters of Marvel; DC does push boundaries, and that is so needed. This is where Marvel falls grossly behind.

Strong female characters make good characters, especially when the characters are written well. It gives a nice breath of fresh air, away from some necrotic spandex super guy who is going through a midlife crisis. Renne Montoya is a such a good character, a private/freelance detective who falls under the pseudonym as ‘The Question’. Nice layed complexities to her character, some good depth too regarding her history as an ex cop going through a hard time, from her relationship with a former girlfriend, and life directional decisions (I guess she is going through some form of a personal crisis). I can’t commend DC enough for allowing Greg Rucka to write a mature story about a lesbian superhero, or character in the DC universe that is not your run of the mill character. Crime Bible is not your run of the mill story either, I haven’t read anything like this in a long time. Very unique story dealing with a cult called the Cult of Cain, the writer Rucka wields an an intriguing story about a Crime Bible, based on the teachings of Cain, and the lessons are Deceit, Lust, Greed and Murder (the 5th lesson? Haven’t got to that story yet). There are so many great ideas that can be drawn from cults and esoteric style ideas, exaggerated and turned into a good story. H. P Lovecraft did it so well with the mad monk Abdul Alhazrad story that eventuated into a story people actually believed, as far as the history of a character that in reality did not exist. Rucka has done the same in some ways with the Cult of Cain who are Asian style bizarro monks, lead by Flay who adheres the teaching of the book of blood or the crime bible. Each comic starts of with theme that involves the hero of the book The Question (Renee Montoya) trying to track down the book and as she does, she becomes more entrapped in the world of the Cult of Cain.

Montoya’s alter ego The Question fits perfectly in this story, already a mysterious and somewhat darker character although not entirely intentional when The Question was first created. Rucka fuses the appearance, style and presence of The Question with the overall mystery of the Cult of Cain and Flay, who is tracking down The Question; in effort to teach her the lessons of blood. The Question’s mysterious appearance is the no visible facial features, or as the Cult of Cain say ‘The faceless one’

This is such a good comic, just so well written, different interactive themes of dark religious sects, bald monks that are good at martial arts, Rucka’s version of the somewhat wayward hero ‘The Question’ and her connection the the Crime Bible, Montoya’s problematic love life with ex lover Kate Kane (Batgirl).

Crime Bible: The Five Lessons of Blood is a 5 part mini series that is about to conclude, a very enjoyable read with good story telling. The art is from various artists that all do a competent job in projecting the visual ideas of the story, watch for the amazing cover art by John Van Fleet.

Thoroughly recommended.

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