In which Agent Chase turns up at the Hall of Justice to annoy Superman and Batman with some rather reasonable questions.
The usually savage Thomas Wayne Batman tells President Superman that he’s mellowed.
Obsidian learns that it’s not just his sister Jade who has vanished from the superhero community.
The recently resurrected Roy Harper begins to suspect which cosmic power is behind his new Black Lantern gig.
And Agent Chase continues dropping in on superheroes.
Well, this is a fun issue. Cameron Chase’s interaction with Superman is a treat, given her inability to understand that it’s perfectly reasonable for him to be less than thrilled with her (‘Last time we saw each other you tried to arrest my wife’). I likewise enjoyed her run-in with Captain Atom, the climax of which could see her manifesting her own super power for the first time in years.
Obsidian’s anger that he hadn’t been told earlier about the missing heroes leads to a cracking run-in with Vandal Savage. And Roy’s memory of talking to Hal Jordan about how his Green Lantern ring worked is a reminder that not every DC writer hates the Silver Age GL.
The only main player I’m singularly uninterested in is Thomas Wayne; his (supposed, I don’t trust the fella) new perspective makes him a better fit for a team setting, but he’s still one more Batman in the DC Multiverse, when we already have regular Batman as an omnipresent figure in DC books – Batman does not need a variant. Even less so if said variant is leaving behind the Dirty Harry bit and becoming more like his cross-dimensional kid.
The reference to Chase’s brief role in Brian Bendis’s Action Comics run is unexpected and has me wondering if Bendis was deliberately seeding multiversal shenanigans that will pay off in this series. If you missed Bendis’s excellent arc, he had Lois accused of being a parallel version of herself.
Writer Josh Williamson does a good job of laying out the scenes and accompanying mysteries, the only time I scratched my head was when I misread a reference to Roy’s ring having worked at the diner last issue as meaning it had previously been a waitress… what can I say, I read a lot of comics!
One great thing about Roy’s new hero (?) look is that it’s finally gets him out of the hideous baseball cap he’s work since the beginning of the New 52. Bravo!
Talking of outfits, I love that Jesus Merino, illustrating the opening sequence, keeps Chase in the chic look she had when Mr Bones interrupted her holiday in Paris last time. She even has the curly bob, it’s clever how the softer look contrasts with Chase’s typical tough talk. It’s always good to see Merino’s storytelling, there’s a fun vibrancy to the characters. Mind, I don’t think colourist Romulo Fajardo Jr’s facial shading sits as well on his work as it does on illoes by the issue’s other artists. Give it time.
Said artists are the excellent Xermanico, continuing from last month, and two more new arrivals, penciller Paul Pelletier and inker Norm Rapmund, a fine team I’m always glad to see. I think the way the book breaks down, after Merino’s opening with Chase, Batman and Superman, is that Xermanico illustrates the President Superman and Thomas Wayne sequence, and Pelletier and Rapmund the Roy and Captain Atom scenes… if anyone sure of the facts is reading this, and I’ve got it wrong, please do let me know. As ever, I wish DC editors would give us detailed credits.
There’s no doubt as to who did the colours and letters as it’s one person in each case; the aforementioned Fajardo provides generally sensitive work, while letterer Tom Napolitano gives us the Super-Clark logo we never knew we needed.
I’m a fan of Mitch Gerads but his cover doesn’t work for me – the stiff poses, the drab colour treatment…it needs more pop all round.
Still, this was an engrossing read. I do hope that future issues will feature single artists or teams, though – it’s been a decade now of DC failing to give us consistent visuals within, probably, at least a third of their books each month, and it’s very distracting even when you’re not trying to give proper credit. Surely it can’t all be a last-minute deadline thing, especially on what’s sold as an event book, like Infinite Frontier. Please try harder, DC.