Friday, February 16, 2024

Comics Review: "THE MADNESS #5" - The Raven, the Djinn and the Dragon


STORY: J. Michael Straczynski
INKS: David Lorenzo
COLORS: Marcelo Maiolo
LETTERS: Sal Cipriano
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Francesco Francavilla; Chris Ferguson
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (December 2023)

Rated: “Mature”

The Madness is a six-issue miniseries from AWA Studios.  It is written by J. Michael Straczynski; drawn by ACO (pencils) and David Lorenzo (inks); colored by Marcelo Maiolo; and lettered by Sal Cipriano.  The series follows a woman who uses her super-powers as a thief and her quest for revenge against a group of superheroes.

The Madness introduces Sarah Ross a.k.a. “The Raven.”  She has super-powers:  flight, super speed, super strength, and invulnerability, but she can only use one at a time.  Sarah has been using her powers as a thief, stealing from the rich and giving it to herself.  She plans one more big score so that she can retire to a life of luxury.  However, she steals from the “wrong person” and that leads to brutal consequences that will drive her to revenge... and to ultimate madness.

The Madness #5 opens as Sarah and The Raven have a conversation.  Are they one and the same, or are they merely part of each other.

Meanwhile, there are origin stories that tie into The Raven's revenge.  First, how does one Djinn replace the next?  This tale will make it crystal clear, with some information about the Djinn's animal companion, the dragon Ignatius.  Plus, what is the story of Shade?  Does even she know it?

Plus, Prince Nesallah and Tafiq Badat, the Arab royalty that demanded The Raven's death, know she is coming for them, and they are prepared.  Or so they believe...

THE LOWDOWN:  AWA Studios marketing recently began providing me with PDF review copies of their comic book publications.  The Madness # is one of the recent acquisitions.

With this fifth issue, writer J. Michael Straczynski offers another chapter that is as intense as the others before it.  The Madness mixes the madness of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen with the exhilaration of Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch's The Authority.  Like Watchmen, Straczynski uses each issue to delve into the side stories that portend and enrich the larger story.

Artist ACO offers daring storytelling, but this time, he focuses on straight ahead action.  He fills The Madness #5 with wide open storytelling similar to the widescreen thrills of The Authority.  Marcelo Maiolo's colors are like cinematography that makes the action soar when it needs to and explode on the page, otherwise.  This penultimate issue demands that I return for the ultimate, but, dear readers, it demands that you start reading.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans looking for excellence in superhero comic books will want to try The Madness.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

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