Task Force Z #3 review

This is definitely one of the more fun series out right now. There have been some fun twists and turns, great action, and exciting cliffhangers that will make you come back for more. Last month Jason got shot by Deadshot, and this month we’ll find out what happens next. Let’s have a look!

This is a pretty interesting issue. Rather than throwing us right into the thick of it like in the previous two issues, we’re starting slow to see what Jason’s relationships with different characters are like. A slight sense of kinship starts running through the pages as it feels like the Task Force Z members are starting to care a little bit more about each other. We get a few instances where members thank Jason for helping them with something, and we see the squad gathered around Jason when doctors are trying to save his life after last month’s cliffhanger. That’s not to say, though, that there is no sense of conflict among Jason and his team mates. After all, Bane has still killed Alfred (during King’s Batman run), and other characters that seem trustworthy turn out to have ulterior motives. All of this feels like important stuff that the creative team can build on in future installments, so I appreciate the attention to these character moments very much.

The overall tone of this issue is a lot more serious than the previous chapters. A part of that is that there’s a slightly more clear direction for the book now, seeing as Jason is starting to make his own decisions that will ultimately clash with Crispin’s intentions (the man behind Task Force Z). But even though things are starting to feel more dire now, there are still jokes sprinkled in. The comic relief is well-timed, too. At no point does it feel intrusive to me, and I enjoy these comedic beats in between serious character moments and action sequences. However, I have an objection. Without spoiling anything, Crispin’s true identity seems to be revealed in this issue’s cliffhanger, and if Crispin really turns out to be that guy, then I don’t think any of the wisecracks that Crispin has made throughout this series so far work anymore. The reason is that the voice would be completely off for that character. That said, for all we know things might not be as they seem, so I’ll withhold judgment until we get confirmation about Crispin’s true identity.

Furthermore, there’s too much talking during the fight scenes for me. While I do really enjoy Jason’s fight with Cheshire, dialogue during fights almost always breaks my immersion. I think heavy use of dialogue only really works for character moments or plot-specific beats (which could occur in between fighting, by the way). When I see two characters kicking and jumping and punching and taking blows to the face and getting thrown around the scene, dialogue—unless it’s very concise—will distract from the visuals. It’s also simply not possible for anyone to be having a conversation while engaging in such demanding physical exercise. Jason’s conversation with Chesire isn’t badly written, but it does disrupt the flow and pacing of the sequence and it doesn’t really add much to the narrative, either.

The art team—consisting of Barrows, Ferreira and Lucas—is firing on all cylinders once again. Barrows always finds a nice balance between chaotic, heavy action and easy-to-follow layouts. For example, the layouts for character moments are more straight-forward so that the emphasis is more on the locations and the character’s poses and expressions. But during fight scenes the panels become more angular and the contents of the panels much more chaotic to get the violence across. Ferreira’s inks and Lucas’ colors blend together nicely as they make every motion look faster and every punch and kick look like it’s hitting harder. Lucas’ colors particularly shine during Jason’s meeting with Sundowner, as they leave the facility to go to a local pizza place. Since Sundowner’s powers will start working once she’s completely out of the light, she needs to stay near lanterns and other light sources during this segment. While the scene takes place at night, Lucas’ colors bathe Jason and Sundowner in bright light, which gives it a slightly romantic touch. It’s a moment for the audience to take a breather before we’re thrown into the next wild adventure with Task Force Z.

Recommended if…

  • You’re looking for an issue that balances big action and quieter character moments quite well.
  • You want more information about the Lazarus resin that Task Force Z uses to revive their members.
  • You want to get a glimpse at who is behind Task Force Z.

Overall: Task Force Z is a solid book. There’s action, there’s humor and, most importantly, there are intriguing character interactions. This isn’t just a mindless zombie book. These characters have their own motives and intentions which sometimes are aligned and sometimes are not. The cliffhanger is also pretty interesting, but it remains to be seen how the creative team is going to handle that going forward. For now I still definitely recommend this comic, though!

Score: 7.5/10

Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with an advance copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.