We first see Batman, Superman and Billy Batson in hell, thanks to the wicked wizard Felix Faust.
Across the world, the Doom Patrol follow a lead on the tomb of The Devil Nezha, who’s behind various villains – including Faust – attacking prominent heroes.
And in ancient China, Supergirl and Robin bid to learn how the recently re-emerged Nezha was once defeated by the heroes known as the Warriors of Ji.
I must say, this comic is running like clockwork. Mark Waid is doling out new pieces of plot information, such as the whereabouts of Nezha’s tomb and nature of the Warriors’ powers, making each instalment satisfying. The main point, though, is to give us thoroughly enjoyable characterisation, whether it’s familiar mixes, such as the title heroes and the Doom Patrol, or lesser-seen pairings such as Robin and Supergirl.
Kara and Dick are so much fun together that I’d love to see Waid and artist Dan Mora invited to do a special starring the two tyros. Today’s Nightwing is so assured that it’s a treat to see the younger Dick goofing up and getting yelled at by Supergirl, who’s not used to working with anyone other than, occasionally, her cousin.
I’ve mentioned six heroes, but there are more, with Flash, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman also involved in Nezha’s schemes. Flash gets the most to do in terms of action, Wonder Woman the least (an understatement), while Green Lantern looks set to be an important player as the serial continues next time.
GL comes with a surprise; unfortunately, it’s one that echoes something in another recent DC appearance, so I correctly guessed what was coming up. I was surprised by something Negative Man does, a nice piece of logical invention on Waid’s part (Larry also had a great featured moment last time – I think he’s a fan).
Mora’s art continues to dazzle, with first-rate storytelling – the individuals frames, the transitions, the character interpretations, the action… all wonderful. Especially impressive is that Mora puts thought into how clothing works on a body – at first glance, it’s easy to think Mora can’t quite get the famed S-symbol right,
Look again, and it’s obvious he’s drawing Kara as if she’s a real person with breasts that aren’t stuck together like those of a mannequin, which affects how the clothing hangs.
And note those capes, the different way they fall. I may be overthinking, but I think that’s Mora showing us that while the invulnerable Kara’s cloak is designed to accentuate her flying, Dick’s has an element of protection, it’s heavier.
There’s a side shot of Batman’s mask that’s fascinating in its detail. A depiction of Hal Jordan’s hair from behind that’s ridiculously convincing. Mora is one to watch.
Tamra Bonvillain’s colouring choices add extra goodness, with GL’s costume looking especially fine in a showcase shot, while Aditya Bidikar’s well-chosen fonts are sharp and attractive, with interesting emphases aplenty.
Mora and Bonvillain’s cover image is a good-looking representation of the overall story, with the complementary positioned Batman and Superman terribly pleasing. Not that I’m OCD or anything….
All in all, this is another cheeringly fine issue depicting a typical day in the DC Universe. We’re told the stakes are big, but with so many great heroes on hand, why should we worry? I’m just having a great time.