Talia has betrayed Checkmate, she’s been revealed as working with Leviathan leader Mark Shaw. Manhunter Kate Shaw isn’t pleased.
The Hall of Justice is in darkness, giving undercover Leviathan agent Whitney a chance to take control of the Heroes’ Network.
Meanwhile, Mark Shaw is attacking Checkmate member Lois Lane and recently uncovered spy brother Leo.
This issue wraps up what’s been a frustrating mini-series, and you know what? I really liked it. A chapter ends for Mark Shaw. The mysterious Mr King’s identity is revealed. And Checkmate’s future is decided.
Is the story totally satisfactory? Not really… once again, Shaw seems deeply unimpressive for a man who has brought down all the DC Universe covert organisations. But that feeds into the resolution of the story. And while, Manhunter apart, Checkmate once again seems similarly inept, they’re less rubbish than Shaw. Which is something. It would’ve been good had Bendis dropped clues that would have allowed readers the satisfaction of guessing Mr King’s identity, but in DCU terms the reveal makes some sense.
It sounds like I’m setting a low bar, but writer Brian Michael Bendis seems to be trying very hard here to give us a decent wrap-up, and we know that behind the scenes his story was hobbled by DC Editorial. What we get is a fast-moving page-turner with plenty of zippy dialogue, action, surprises and an ending that opens the door to more super-spy fun.
Artist Alex Maleev’s photorealistic style has served this series well so far and he doesn’t disappoint this issue. The players look terrific, the action scenes pop and the panel-to-panel storytelling works. Jumping on board for this final issue, colourist Lee Loughridge makes great choices, adding drama with their lighting… my favourite visual of the issue is Superman’s entrance (he also has a killer exit line). Keep an eye out for it. Completing the core creative team, Josh Reed’s vibrant letters add appeal.
As for the cover, it’s not strictly relevant to the issue, but it makes thematic sense. I like it.
So, how was it for you? Would you check out further Checkmates?