"Ragtime": Strega tells Doctor Gotham that another attempt to destroy Shadowpact has failed. He responds that, while killing them would be best, all that he needs is for them to be distracted, and she should keep
Appearing in "Ragtime"
Synopsis for "Ragtime"
Strega tells Doctor Gotham that another attempt to destroy Shadowpact has failed. He responds that, while killing them would be best, all that he needs is for them to be distracted, and she should keep throwing assets at them.
In Metropolis, Blue Devil, Ragman and Nightshade are at the mercy of the Congregation, who have blinded them. The Congregation explain that they believe them to be villains (a demon, a soul-stealer, a witch of darkness) and put them to sleep.
While dreaming, Ragman relives his family history: his grandfather had immigrated from Eastern Europe and changed the family name from Reganiewicz to Reagan, in the hopes of avoiding persecution, only to be hit by anti-Irish sentiments. The family had brought something with them- the Rag Suit. Eventually, he took the role himself, if only to prevent someone else from having to do so.
In Metropolis, the Congregation phone the police to tell them that they've blinded numerous civilians during a fight with villains. They intend to go on to the Oblivion Bar to capture the rest of Shadowpact.
Ragman comes to in an area of darkness- he can see himself, but nothing else. After a time, he sees some other people, who promptly start beating him up. He recognizes them as the souls he'd trapped in the suit. The soul of an ancient Roman arrives and tells them they can't kill Ragman. Instead, the souls try to pull their rags from the suit, but can't. Eventually, the souls give up and go away. The Roman introduces himself as Marcus Liberius and explains that he was collected during the Siege of Masada. When Ragman protests that the Rag Suit was only created in the 1930s, Marcus explains that that was the first time the Great Collector Artifact had taken the form of a suit of rags. It had been around since the time of Abraham, in the form of a cloak, spear, dagger, etc. Marcus tells Ragman that he's nearly earned his redemption, and will take his blindness as the last service he needs to do. When Ragman commiserates with his many years trapped and in pain, Marcus tells him that he was lucky- he had a second chance. The Rag Suit, instead of being a punishment, is a mechanism for redemption.
In Metropolis, Ragman wakes to find himself outside the doorway to the Oblivion Bar. He pretends to still be blind, and hears their plan. The Congregation intend to use Shadowpact's access to enter, then call in their friends and blind everyone. Blue Devil opens the door. When they get in, the Congregation find that they can't call up their backup. Ragman breaks free and knocks down his captors, before releasing Marcus to the afterlife, much to the surprise of Shadowpact and the other patrons of the bar.
Later, Madame Xanadu examines the blinded members of Shadowpact. Ragman healed himself when he gave his blindness to Marcus; Blue Devil's demon eyes are already growing back; and her spells will restore Nightshade's eyes. Nightmaster tells them that he wants them to "get our act together as a fighting force".
Still later that night in Gotham City, Ragman, happier with his job, goes back to hunting down the worst of the worst.
- This book was first published on December 20, 2006.
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