Behind another moody but lifeless Andrew Robinson cover, Flamebird and Nightwing continue their mission to bring down rogue Kryptonians. The main points of interest this time are a change in Flamebird’s status quo as her links to the gods of old Krypton are made manifest, Lois Lane realising her father isn’t dead and the mystery woman with the facial tattoo being named. Other than that it’s the usual mix of fast-paced action, courtesy of writer Greg Rucka and artist Diego Olmos, and annoying Kryptonese translations. I know I harp on about the latter, but they really do slow the stories down, for example this issue we have a Big Moment that requires a Big Statement, but when you turn the page for the splash containing both you have the Kryptonese translations bursting from Flamebird’s mouth with the meaning at the bottom. Kinda kills the excitement.
Mind, at least the translations are now of a readable size and colour, so that’s something . . . thank you Rob Leigh.
The big news this issue is the addition of Captain Atom with his first regular DCU strip since the Armageddon 2000 summer crossover ruined him as a hero in the early Nineties. But here he is, with no mention of his time as the evil Monarch. Mind, there’s not much of a mention of anything as much of this strip is silent, allowing Cap to show off his atomic powers against medieval-style warriors. There’s a quick flashback to his Justice League days, so we know it’s the same Captain Atom as in previous years, but no explanation as to how he’s back as the silver-shelled hero. Which is fine, the last thing writers James Robinson and Greg Rucka want to do is bore readers by explaining away stories that never should have happened. Maybe wave it all away with a wizard in a year or too …
The artist, Cafu, is a new name to me, but I’m already a fan. The work, coloured by Santiago Arcas, is kinetic, dynamic and all-round excellent. The contrast between the gritty warriors and sleek Atom is particularly striking. I haven’t the slightest idea where this strip is going, but so long as Rucka doesn’t use Cap’s military background as an excuse for lots of offputting Checkmate-style authenti-talk, I’ll be happy.