In the Hall of Heroes, things are getting weird with Captain Carrot and Machinehead.
In the White House of Earth 23, President Superman and multiversal visitor Batman – the Thomas Wayne of another parallel – are getting to know one another.
On Earth 0 – the regular DC Universe world – Director Bones of the reborn Department of Extranormal Operations is looking rather dodgy.
And in the place between worlds, the Bleed, the recently resurrected Roy Harper meets some old friends and acquaintances.
This is the best issue yet of DC’s latest event series. And yes, I know we were told ‘no more Crises’, but that ideal is the backbone of this six-parter, with Bones willing to turn on heroes to achieve the ambition.
He may have the right idea, given we learn that one of the heroes supposed to be preventing incursions is secretly working with some very dubious characters.
And from my point of view, that’s good – as a lifelong Legion fan, there’s rarely a Traitor Within the Team reveal that I don’t enjoy.
What I actually don’t enjoy is Machinehead talking about ‘letting the man out to breathe’… I’m with Captain Carrot, whoa! And indeed, eeeurgh! The subsequent panels, though, are more palatable, with a hint that the Iron Man-alike might be a disfigured version of John Henry Irons.
President Superman and Thomas Wayne Batman are gelling into a surprisingly effective World’s Finest team… little by little Thomas is gaining a more rounded character, and that’s going to be useful given that DC seems determined to build his part.
And I’m delighted to see Jade’s past with Roy acknowledged, pre-Flashpoint history tends to get ignored. It’s also interesting to see how naturally she steps into a leadership role with her JSA pals, hopefully that will be followed up in the team’s rumoured upcoming series.
Joshua Williamson’s script is firing on all cylinders, with lots of nice character bits and the various strands building to make a bigger whole.
The art – with pencilling shared between Paul Pelletier, Jesús Merino and Xermanico, inks by Norm Rapmund, Raul Fernandez and, well, Xermanico, and a popping colour palette from Hi-Fi – is good to great throughout. The storytelling is uniformly strong, with everyone on model, lots of subtle expressions and big action scenes. My favourite moments include that Roy/Jade hug, and Power Girl being very Power Girl.
Throw in terrific letters from Tom Napolitano and the best cover yet from Mitch Gerads, and we have a book I wish was being released weekly. It’s bringing the 52 vibe, and I wish there were a lot more chapters to come. Not necessarily an infinite number, but maybe a year?