Well, the last of the Final Crisis Aftermath books has finally hit with today’s Ink #1, and to my vast surprise, DC was saving the best for last. Ink follows Mark Richards, the Tattooed Man, who, in Final Crisis: Submit worked with Black Lightning, and then went on to join Black Canary and other Justice League members to help save the world. Inducted as an honorary member of the Justice League, Richards is trying to turn his life around.
It isn’t easy, though – the same emotional and social issues that made him a criminal in the first place are still present in his life, and his neighborhood hasn’t gotten any prettier. Wallace does a great job with the book’s most dicey proposition in dealing with the issues challenging Richards’ reform, most notably to do with his son. He sets up a few different plot threads to follow through the series, from crooked cops to family troubles to a fickle public – and demonstrates a surprising amount of restraint. This isn’t a book glorifying the violence of an anti-hero. This legitimately appears to be an attempt to genuinely reform, and I’m genuinely curious to know if the character will succeed.
The art, provided here by Fabrizio Fiorentino and colored by Michael Dimotta, is fantastic, a high-quality job that seriously ups the creep-factor and gives the tattooed creations of the book an otherworldly edge. Though it takes a few pages to adapt to the style, once you do you’ll find that it works extremely well in both the action sequences and the slower, more dramatic moments. Though the dark, slightly scratchy style might not be up everyone’s alley, it complements the book well.
The book offers compelling set-up, strong characterization, fast-paced action, and some great art. All-in-all, Ink looks like it might just be the star of the FCA line, and it leaves me eagerly awaiting more.