One thing that Task Force Z has been doing well is juggling fun with poignancy without having those two elements clash. It’s also a book that consistently keeps the energy high and that keeps the plot moving. There’s always something going on in this story, and that’s more than I can say about certain other Bat Books that are being released at the moment. So what about Task Force Z #5? Let’s have a look!
The art is really good. I’ve always enjoyed Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreirra whenever I saw them pop up in a comic, but I think that the work they do here is on another level. The panels are detailed, the characters all look fantastic, the layouts strike a great balance between being dynamic and easy to read, the inks are clean and confident, and I dig subtle story telling moments such as Mr. Bloom whispering into Man-Bat’s ear in the background, which sets up what Man-Bat is going to do in the next panel. I appreciate that Rosenberg just lets these artists tell the story without feeling the need to spell things out for the reader. However, as fun and creative and technically impressive as the art is, sometimes I think they are going slightly too far. For example, there’s a splash page that, albeit very cool and drawn well, is so packed with details and colors and characters that it gets a little too crowded, to a point that it’s almost sensory overload.
Barrows and Ferreirra aren’t the only artists working on this comic, though. Matt Santorelli and Jack Herbert also provide pencils and inks. Last month we had fill-in artists too, and I didn’t think it worked out very well then because the artists randomly kept switching it up throughout the comic, resulting in jarring shifts in aesthetic and an incoherent look. This time around it works out much better. The four artists featured in this issue have different styles, but they match quite well. Santorelli and Herbert also draw only a single scene, with the rest being done by Barrows and Ferreirra. I’d still rather see a solid, consistent art team throughout this series, but if fill-in artists have to help out, then this is certainly the preferred way to handle it. It also helps that Santorelli and Herbert beautifully render their scene, with strong character expressions and angles. And, of course, as always, Lucas’ rich colors bring it all together!
The writing continues to be solid, but in places the writer relies on exposition once again. In this case I don’t mind that much, because it’s all relevant information that the reader needs to know regarding the lazarus resin and what it’s doing to the zombies, but still. Comics are a visual medium and shouldn’t need this much explanation for readers by way of an exposition dump. Certainly there’s a way to show this happening, isn’t there? That said, this information about the resin does make me wonder what’s going to happen next to the Task Force, so I guess it does get the job done.
In terms of character work, I’m not entirely sure about how Rosenberg writes KGBeast. I don’t think he writes him out-of-character necessarily, or that he makes him look especially bad, but I find KGBeast’s characterization in this issue to be rather bland. He sounds like a generic mercenary and, because of that, he doesn’t have the intimidating aura around him that he’s supposed to have. Perhaps Rosenberg is going to have KGBeast do some really cool stuff next time, but as it stands I don’t think that he’s using the character to his full potential.
This comic’s main strength, as I’ve said, is that there’s always an interesting plot development in every issue. This month we get more focus on Mr. Bloom’s subplot. It’s not entirely clear yet what exactly his endgame is going to be, but that’s precisely what makes his subplot so engaging and fun for me. I like seeing this unfold, because it means there’s forward momentum and development. I never thought I would say this about the character, but I genuinely think that Mr. Bloom is probably the most interesting player in this story at the moment.
- You are invested in Mr. Bloom’s schemes.
- You are in the mood for some epic fight visuals.
Overall: This is another fun installment in the Task Force Z miniseries. There’s a lot of fighting; there’s some intriguing character stuff, like Mr. Bloom’s subplot; and the artwork is really damn good. I’m still digging this story, and I think that fans of action-driven superhero comics might dig this issue too.
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with an advance copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.