Lor luv a duck, it’s those bloomin’ Yanks, writing about dear old Blighty again …
Oh all right, the dialogue’s not too bad in this England-set issue, as Agent 37 – better known as Dick Grayson – decides the best way to blend in with the Leicestershire locals is to use his stunning facility with accents.
Given that the rest of this issue is as camp as Christmas, there’s every chance writers Tim Seeley and Tom King are taking the Michael. This is a comic in which Batman has been battling motorbike baddies Choker, Puncher and Drowner – the Cycles of Violence. This is a comic in which Matron Helena Bertinelli tells her teenage charges that the way to master the crossbow is to use their curves.
This is DC’s version of the Avengers, with Helena as Purdey and Dick as Steed. Or something. It’s hard to say.
I can say that the main storyline sees our agents tasked with tracking down a ‘biomech digestive processor – an enhanced stomach’. This leads them to a sleepy, sheepy town and some very unpleasant business involving agents from other shady DCU groups.
The stomach somehow links to last issue’s human bomb plot, and another holdover sees Midnighter developing an obsession with learning the identity of Agent 37 after Dick took him down. Intriguingly, he’s on a sabbatical from the Authority and working with an elderly lady from an organisation named God’s Garden.
Mind, I did a mental double take when Midnighter’s ability to anticipate a foe’s fight moves is suddenly exaggerated.
Perhaps he’s just being dramatic.
Spyral’s the Hood seemingly doesn’t know the difference between ‘slacking off’ and ‘slagging off’. Then again, he’s not feeling too well.
Things rattle along nicely, with mystery, action and characterisation nicely balanced, and some fine bits of Dick humour.
The slight problem I have with this issue is the pacing. Dick and Helena separate in the village of Farmington, then we jump ahead three hours to find Dick in the midst of an attack. Had the Midnighter scene appeared in between, it wouldn’t feel so weird. As it is, we get the action sequence, then Dick narrating what led up to the fight, then a bit more fighty fighty..
Guillermo Ortego and Juan Castro are credited alongside Mikel Janin as artists and I’m darned if I can’t see the join. Add in the colours of Jeromy Cox and the book looks great from start to finish, with the close-ups of Dick and Helena especially impressive. Midnighter’s new advisor, the Gardener, looks terrific too, it’s unusual for comic artists to capture the beauty of a healthy older person, but Janin (and co?) do so here. Janin is certainly solo – lines and colours – on the cover, producing an image stunning enough for a Seventies movie poster.
Quibbles and oddities aside, I’m really enjoying this series, it’s a different flavour for the DC Universe. And ain’t that the truth, guv?