With several JLI members out of action after a bomb attack on the UN, Batman calls in help – Batwing, Batman Inc’s good man in Africa. After visiting his old friend Vixen in hospital he helps Booster Gold take on Lightweaver, one of the villains behind the atrocity, as he attacks the unit. Blows and blasts are exchanged but Lightweaver escapes, as Booster saves Batwing rather than take off in pursuit.
Elsewhere in New York, the man who planted the bomb, Roland Norcutt, murders the policemen taking him away – it turns out he’s a metahuman, Breakdown, with the power to take things to pieces and reassemble them. There’s no reassembling here, mind, with the hapless guards left in a distinctly skeletal state. Free and unchallenged, he’s soon joined by Lightweaver, and another bad guy – or rather, girl – Intersek, a downmarket version of Stormwatch’s Projectionist.
Back with Booster and Batwing, Batman shows up, information is swapped and Booster resolves to find the escaped Norcutt. Batwing’s thoughts tell us he finds Booster ‘brash, assertive. The kind of man I tend not to like.’ The newcomer asks Batman: ‘Is he always like this?’, which is needlessly snitty – Booster here is nowhere near full-on, he’s acting like the leader he’s become since the team was formed. It’s also terribly ungrateful, given Booster’s just saved his arse.
I’d say it’s all kicking off, but really, ‘it’ never stops in this comic – the team has barely had a chance to breathe since forming in JLI #1, and by this point some members are breathing only with assistance. I’ve no idea whether OMAC is being lined up for membership now his comic’s been cancelled (he’s not exactly a team player), but Batwing is definitely joining. On the evidence of this issue, I’d rather he didn’t. The way he judges Booster and finds him lacking, two minutes after arriving in New York, makes him seem the arrogant one – the JLI’s leader isn’t grandstanding, he’s not acting up, he’s simply trying to hold things together. I realise Batwing’s likely in the book for two reasons: filling in for a too-busy Batman, and giving his own series a boost. And he’s an ‘international’ character. But the attitude has to go. Hopefully Batwing will soon realise that Booster deserves respect.
Minor, as I say. Overall, this is another first-class script from Jurgens. The brief scene with Guy and Ice is lovely, Norcutt’s political speech to his guards elevates him beyond filler villain and the scene with Bao is very effective. August General and Godiva have charisma, the actual team-up between Batwing and Booster provides thrills and OMAC’s arrival fair pops.
And it all looks superb courtesy of penciller Aaron Lopresti and inker Matt Ryan. Lopresti really knows how to pace a page, and his heroes and villains look like legends – new baddie Breakdown has real presence, with a tremendously creepy visual. Their OMAC shows it’s not just Keith Giffen and Scott Koblish who can make Brother Eye’s monstrous lackey imposing. And Booster’s debrief with Bats Man and Wing is quietly dramatic.
The cover’s a keeper too, thanks to penciller David Finch, inker Richard Friend and colourist Jeromy Cox (whom I’d assumed to be Marvel exclusive). The interior colouring is by Hi-Fi and is just edible, while Travis Lanham’s lettering is good looking, but there’s a spelling error – just the one so far as I can see, but I’m mentioning it because we’re seeing more and more typos in DC comics of late and editors – in this case, Darren Shan, Brian Smith and Mike Marts – should be catching ’em. Fix it for the trade, lads – if you can find it!