The cover for issue one of The Raptor is deceiving. It looks like just another entry into the cape-fiction genre. Sure enough, you’d be wrong. Oh so wrong.
The Raptor does feature a masked vigilante dishing out a sweet serving of justice in a crime riddled city, however, there is a big difference in the narrative of The Raptor when contrasted to standard superhero fare. The focal point isn’t based solely on the city’s heroic protector, but rather on the other characters that comprise the story. The problems they face, the challenges they need to overcome and their relationships with each other. There’s also a fun “found footage” aspect to the narrative that adds a neat perspective on the story, and thus alters the way it’s told.
So then, the (very basic version of the) plot: The NYPD Special Crimes Squad is sent in to investigate when an man and a woman are found murdered in an alley. Detectives Jason Hawkings and Willow Barnes assigned to the case, which happens to be quite personal for detective Barnes. There’s nothing quite like investigating the murder of one of you best and oldest friends, is there? Unfortunately, Barnes now needs to struggle with exactly that, while not allowing emotions to provoke decisions or interfere with her judgement.
While the good detectives are searching for leads, there’s another force of justice running his (or her) own agenda atop city buildings. It’s The Raptor, a sleek shadowy figure with sharp talons, and he’s not out to play games. The government organizations and civilians of New York know the Raptor is out there, but how do they really feel about the masked guardian of the city?
There’s also a rather intricate story involving a crime syndicate, and there are overtones of retribution, revenge, corruption and more. I highly recommend purchasing the first issue in this four issue mini series, which you can do at the official sie of The Raptor.
While the story holds it’s own, the artwork is also incredibly well done. Each page is a pleasure to look at, and the character design is unique. Shedd demonstrates a great knowledge of sequential art, and I look forward to seeing a few more action scenes in the remaining three issues.
Don’t let The Raptor slip past you – it’s a well written, beautifully illustrated example of comics done right.