Crime Syndicate #4 review

It’s the morning after the space starfish before and the world is in clean-up mode. While Atomica and Johnny Quick helped other Earth 3 superbeings stem Starro’s incursion on Earth, they’re not keen on mopping up. Heck, it’s not like anyone is treating them as heroes.

The police raid spurs the villains on to mass destruction and the death of hundreds. But there is a man above Keystone City who considers himself a hero.

And yet John Stewart, the Emerald Knight, does nothing. He flies off to protect Coast City, should the Satanic Speedster and Malevolent Mite show up there.

Basically, he’s useless, believing he has free will but falling ever more in thrall to the ring bestowed on him by the ancient Overlords of Oa.

Above the Earth, Alexander Luthor is a man with a plan.

Emerald Knight is someone Luthor hopes will join him, but he’s also on an Amazon wishlist.

One of Luthor’s allies, Thal Sinestro, the only Emerald Knight ever to have broken away from the ring’s influence, appeals to his Earth counterpart.

Night Owl approaches Luthor out of costume, revealing that he’s bought himself a place on the Lexcorp board, but Alexander’s unnamed aide isn’t impressed.

By issue’s end, Emerald Knight has made his choice and lines are drawn as this six-issue mini-series heads towards its conclusion.

And that has me sad – I don’t want this comic to burn brightly, but briefly, there’s a whole world, heck, an entire new universe to explore. And the characters have so much yet to reveal. Writer Andy Schmidt’s flipping of the Sinestro and Green Lantern roles is brilliant, Superwoman shows herself to be ever more insidious, Owlman is made of schemes… I want more!

Having not seen Lonar since the shortlived Seventies New Gods revival, I’m amazed I remembered his name; it’s not like he looks the same. I wonder what his presence means for the book. Apart from a cool flying horse (tautology, I realise).

One question this issue left me with is, who’s the unnamed Lexcorp aide? Well, she’s blonde, of a scientific bent and surprisingly strong. It has to be… well, if you’ve also read the solicitations for the final issue you’ll know who I’m thinking of already. And if I’m wrong, I’ll eat my headband.

Kieran McKeown’s pencils impress once again, redefining the Crime Syndicate for a new era. There’s a lovely confidence to them, and every new character introduced is a treat. Dexter Vines’ sharp inks can’t be ignored, they pull focus beautifully. And the colours of Steve Oliff light up the pages, while letterer Rob Leigh gives us yet another great example of display work with the story title, Emerald Light.

My favourite panel of the issue?

I love that Superwoman’s comment is speaking to the arrogance of the crazed Ultraman while being equally apposite so far as good guy Superman is concerned.

This issue’s back-up tells the story of how beat cop John Stewart was unfortunate enough to impress a passing power ring. In just four pages Schmidt and artist Bryan Hitch show us that even before he became Emerald Knight, John Stewart’s status was ‘it’s complicated’. Alex Sinclair’s colours are especially adept at changing the vibe from backstreet to cosmic, while Leigh’s letters are again exemplary.

Howard Porter draws and Romulo Fajardo Jr colours the cover, a three-panel piece that tells us what we’re in for. I’m a big fan of Porter, but again, I really hope Kieran McKeown gets to do a cover image before close of play.

I hope this series is selling, it’s one of the best books DC is putting out and as I said earlier, I want more Earth 3 goodness.

Or rather, badness.

11 thoughts on “Crime Syndicate #4 review

  1. Great review.
    And yes, if that isn’t Kara, I’ll banish myself to the Phantom Zone. I guess she will be a ‘good guy’ considering she is linked to Lex here. I wonder if there is some Matrix-y stuff happening here. Can’t wait to find out.

    But this is a crackling fun series. So grateful you recommended!


    1. I wonder if, since the rebooting of the multiverse following Death Metal, Earth-3 is no longer a straight up ‘bad guys are good, good guys are bad’ Earth where evil always wins. Diana, at least, is implied to have been somewhat good (‘she was too soft’), and the potential Kara here. Would be nice to see it not so straight up ‘Mirror Universe’.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I need read this now. VERY disappointed its been changed to a limited series now. Looks like sales weren’t high enough to ensure it stayed an ongoing for awhile longer. Damn shame, but that’s how it goes.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You mean AT&T right? Haha. Heard rumors Disney is looking to buy DC, nothing else, and that AT&T wants do away with Warner Media. Curious to see if that’s true. HUGE ramifications if Disney does indeed buy DC. That would mean Marvel & DC would be owned by the same overlord.

        Liked by 1 person

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