Review: Oxymoron – The Loveliest Nightmare #1

Oxymoron has become one of my favorite comic book characters because he’s Joker-esc. The key difference being that he can actually do anything and is never held back to protect his image. I’ll let that set in for a second because DC Comics most assuredly protects the Joker’s image and has firmly placed the shackles on him since The Dark Knight movie. The real kicker is that the things he’s no longer allowed to do are the very things that make him an interesting character and in turn make the fans like him. Enter Oxymoron a character that again is Joker-esc, but without all the past hang ups and the annoying dependency on Batman to be interesting. Instead he’s a character that is dangerous and brilliant at the same time.

The Loveliest Nightmare takes place prior to the events in The Red Ten, the series in which Oxymoron makes his debut. Much like the anthology of stories starring the character, this story only deals with Oxymoron. In a way he’s a super villain functioning in a world without capes.

Oxymoron---The-Loveliest-Nightmare-#1-11.17.14The story actually doesn’t begin with our title character, because it’s his arrival that we crave and being without him actually makes his presence all the more poignant. Instead we find a woman by the name Mary laying on the floor looking at a man with a bullet hole in the center of his head and blood pouring out onto the floor. Six months later we find the same woman getting ready for work and it’s revealed that she’s a police officer. At the precinct Mary meets with her boss and through the conversation we learn that Mary has a medical condition and that she wears a scarlet letter in the precinct due what went down with her dead partner.

How does Oxymoron fit into all this? Well let’s just say that he’s behind a lot of what comes next and we’re given some truly scary scenes from his POV.

Can anyone do creepy better than John Lees? He and Tyler James team up for the story on this series and they knock it out of the park. Mary is a well-rounded and deep character. We get to know a lot of her personality and like anyone there are things we like about her, things we dislike and a lot we just don’t know. We do know that she’s a hell of a character. Now we just need to learn what happened six months ago and why Oxymoron has entered her life… or has he even.

Lees produces some wonderful dialogue. It never feels like exposition because the characters are placed in realistic situations to give the information naturally. In particular I really enjoyed the POV scene with Oxymoron. It was the first time I’ve seen that successfully executed in a comic.

Which brings me to Alex Cormack on art. Cormack’s black & white artwork adds a lot of personality to the story. He’s a fantastic visual storyteller as he adds to the script with his strong visuals. The final version will be in color, but I honestly liked it in black & white. Something about it really works in black & white. The focus is on the characters and their reactions rather than the amount of blood. It’s also interesting since Oxymoron’s costume is black & white for the most part.

I was really impressed with this issue; impressed, but not surprised. Having read The Red Ten and several stories from the anthology, I already knew what to expect. The creative team delivers a wonderful story, staring a character that started off as homage and has now surpassed its inspiration.

Score: 5/5

Story: Tyler James & John Lees Writer: John Lees Artist: Alex Cormack Publisher: ComixTribe Price: $3.99 Website