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CLOAKED #1 [Review]

CLOAKED #1 / Story by MIKE RICHARDSON/ Art and Colors by JORDI ARMENGOL/ Letters by NATE PIEKOS OF BLAMBOT/ Published by DARK HORSE COMICS

25 years ago, a mysterious masked man came out of nowhere and gripped the imagination of Americans everywhere. Clad in a black costume with a mask and cape, he gave no name, but came to be known as the Reaper. Then one day, just as suddenly as he had appeared, the Reaper vanished.

Now, sleazy detective Roger “Jake” Stevens has been hired by billionaire Byron West to solve a mystery that has puzzled amateur detectives for decades – who was The Reaper? It’s not a question that intrigues Stevens that much, but he has bills to pay and West’s money is good. Unfortunately, the secret identity of the Reaper is a secret that someone is willing to kill to keep…

Cloaked #1 Page 1
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Many comic book writers have tried to tell stories of Batman with the serial numbers filed off before. Sadly, Cloaked does little to distinguish itself from what has come before. Writer Mike Richardson has the rhythm of a good noir story down pat. Unfortunately, the characters are stock cardboard cutouts and Richardson doesn’t bother to creatively introduce us to the cast. Our introduction to Roger “Jake” Stevens comes through a biography read aloud by his client – a cliché that even Stevens can’t believe.

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The artwork is similarly rough. Jordi Armengol has a perfect style for this kind of story, utilizing muted colors and deep shadows. Armengol also has a fantastic eye for action, and the fight scenes are thrilling enough. Unfortunately, he can’t fight the inertia of the over-explored concept.

Cloaked is not a bad comic, being competently executed. Unfortunately, one can’t escape the feeling that we’ve seen this story told before and told better elsewhere. Still, Film Noir fans and Batman fans looking for a change of pace should give it a try.

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