For three issues, the ongoing subplot of whether or not this was really the Death-Defying ‘Devil has been raised with a former Wise Guy (the ‘Devil’s support team) stepping into the role of the Dragon, a ‘Devil lookalike, trying to prove the ‘Devil a fraud. Now, here’s the fourth and final issue of the series, so a resolution of this plot should have been the centerpiece of this issue, but, instead, all that’s given is another ‘to be continued.’
So, what was the point of this series exactly?
There was a Claw plan that didn’t come across as all that important despite bringing in the Silver Streak and the Ghost. Here, the heroes have failed and resort to evacuating Hong Kong, but the tension doesn’t increase until the Dragon confronts the ‘Devil. Shouldn’t the destruction of a major city seem more important and affecting than it is here?
The fight between the Dragon and ‘Devil is actually quite good. After three issues of build-up, the idea that "this is it, we will finally learn the truth" gives their fight a lot of emotional weight. Edgar Salazar draws the brawl skillfully, portraying the two as relative equals and both fantastic at what they do. It all builds to the ‘Devil using his spiked belt as a weapon, much to the surprise of the Dragon, and the other heroes arriving too late to stop it.
However, once the Dragon reveals his true identity as the ‘Devil’s real successor, Curly, and that the boomerang in his possession was given to him by the real ‘Devil on his deathbed, the story goes nowhere. The ‘Devil continues to be uncommunicative and no resolution comes. Sorry to spoil things, but am I really spoiling it if nothing actually happens?
Maybe if the Dragon’s identity was a secret, that revelation would have been enough, but the first three issues made it quite clear that Curly was beneath the mask. So, again, what was the point of this series? A question as to the validity of the ‘Devil’s authenticity is raised in the first issue, but never answered. The issue’s failure to provide any sense of closure is glaring and is an insult to reader who thought, foolishly, that this mini-series would serve some purpose beyond acting as a teaser for the next volume of “Project Superpowers.”
The one bright spot of this issue and series is Edgar Salazar, whose dynamic art conveys action and emotion with equal skill. His work is a little rough still, but he’s shown that he’s got some serious potential here and, hopefully, his next project will match that potential. Give his art in the preview pages a look and see for yourself.
If the goal of “The Death-Defying ‘Devil” was to give readers a glimpse into who this character is, then it was a failure. With an opaque protagonist and no real insight, only unanswered questions, this series really comes down to one question: what was the point?