Fight scene choreography is something I have trouble with; either a lot of artists are less than excellent at it or, more likely, I’m terrible at parsing the visuals. If that’s the problem, Bruno Redondo is the solution.
That is stunning artwork. There isn’t a panel in which I don’t know what’s going on. There’s isn’t a panel I don’t want to look at again and again.
As the cover and the above indicates, this month the focus is an encounter with Batman. The members of Task Force X have divested themselves of their latest masters and are on the run. They’ve made it to Gotham where Harley Quinn knows an off-the-books doctor who can get those pesky government bombs out of their bodies.
Ouch. Still, it gives Chaos Kitten, Osita and friends another level of freedom as they bid to take down the newly revealed puppet master who’s been using them of late – Ted Kord.
As in Blue Beetle. Whether it’s really him, or an imposter – Max Lord seems a likely reveal, so it won’t be because this series is smarter than me – isn’t this issue’s concern. This chapter of Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo’s ridiculously good series is all about the fight scenes, the character interaction, the sheer madness of being on the run in a world full of hired mercenaries, mad medics… and superheroes who simply won’t let you go about your business unaccosted.
I’m all for a Batman guest shot if it puts eyes on a book that deserves to be a massive hit, and this one is technically non-gratuitous – two Task Force X members, Harley Quinn and Deadshot, have been longtime Gotham residents. And as it turns out, Batman has good advice for one Squaddie.
The first page of this comic made me smile. The last had me grinning broadly, with Taylor’s wonderfully human dialogue perfectly timed to a nine-panel grid by Redondo. And in between? Page after page of clever but not clever-clever, gorgeously depicted action starring one of the most diverse, interesting casts in comics. The mostly original characters are great at teamwork, but can make mistakes, and circumstances tend to conspire against them – watching the self-proclaimed Revolutionaries think and fight their way out of trouble is a big part of this series’ appeal.
Another big part is the art; Redondo’s layouts draw the eye in, complementing Taylor’s words to tell the story efficiently and stylishly. The ‘camera angles’, dynamic people positioning, occasional use of a zip a-tone effect for facial modelling… it all adds up to effective, attractive visuals.
On its own, Redondo’s art is amazing… then comes Adriano Lucas’s colours; the browns and reds and oranges and purples bring an unfamiliar warmth to the Gotham cityscape that works surprisingly well.
The interiors are equally good, from the mossy tones of the doctor’s shabby surgery to the vibrant greens of Zebra Man’s forcefield.
Wes Abbott lays down the dialogue with admirable precision, while his bombastically beautiful sound effects, worked out with Taylor and Redondo, are a knockout.
And the cover, just look at that weird figure of the dark looming over Harley, Deadshot and the Revolutionaries… here it’s Marcelo Maiolo, whose near neon treatments have benefited many an issue of Teen Titans and Green Arrow, working with Redondo and the result is terrific.
A tip of the hat, too, to editors Andrea Shea and Alex R Carr for running the Task Force that gives us this brilliant, ever surprising comic – long may it continue.