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DC Universe Presents #15 – Review: Only Demon Skin Deep

Things are headed toward a fiery climax as the tale of the Blue Devil and Black Lightning reaches its conclusion here in DC Universe Presents #15! This small story arc has done a great job at introducing the various elements that both characters have been known for, but at the same time adding new character beats and intrigues. Basically it has done, as I have said before, what most of the reboots that fans have had to suffer under should have been doing. Revitalizing where it needs to, not changes for changes sake.

“Black & Blue” has been a nice aside from the regular rough and tumble of the main DC Universe as of late. Humorous when it needs to be, serious when it’s appropriate, it’s an escape from the regular down and out tone the majority of other books seem to have. Like Earth 2 and Wonder Woman it is a nice showcase of having characters whom actually, you know, care about one another. Something so simple shouldn’t be so rare, but seeing how the climate is at this time with Big Two it has to be appreciated when it is found.

This installment carries on the quality that has become expected of this particular story arc. Light and breezy, but carrying a definite weight behind it. The characters again receive some more development, both within themselves and with each other. This doesn’t necessarily apply to only our protagonists and their secondary characters, but also to the antagonists. The secret depths behind the Blue Devil’s “costume” its connection to the evil demon “Nebiros”. Not only that but a hidden connection to one of DC’s sleeper titles that is not only surprising, but oddly fitting – Demon Knights!

The stakes are definitely raised with this installment as the partnership between the sinister Tobias Whale and Nebiros hits our heroes with its full force. As we head toward the final act it is always necessary to put forward a sizable threat and the dual antagonists do a great job at that. Hitting hard both in the workplace and in terms of personal business the two do earn their stripes in villainy. One can truly feel for the Black and the Blue as they try to cope with this onslaught. It’s suspenseful and terse writing but nothing to an extent that bogs it down. It maintains a nice mélange. The writing by veteran Marc Andreyko is still as fresh and kinetic as one can expect. It’s a great fit for the story and doesn’t drag but rather keeps the reader moving at a steady pace. Character beats are offered up as smaller appetizers to the larger, more attention holding action set pieces. Throw in a couple of quips and there is an especially enjoyable romp to be had.

DC Universe Presents wraps up this thrilling story arc next month and while it might be sad to see this new era for these two characters close up its new beginning it does also afford the nice reflection that they had one of the better “new beginnings”. If other characters like them can be shown the spotlight within the pages of this book and have the same amount of zest re-infused while keeping the basics of the character than there might be some hope for the untended to parts of the DC Universe that seem up for grabs these days.




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