Last month’s issue ended with Jason being at the mercy of KGBeast, and Two-Face, Freeze and Bane showing up to try and rescue Jason. There was some confusion in the comments last time about whether this is an ongoing or a mini, but the June solicits do indicate that this is indeed a 12-issue run. That means that we’re at the halfway point in the story now. Can the creative team deliver another solid issue? Let’s have a look!
First of all, the structure of this issue feels a bit rambly. We keep jumping back and forth in time every other page, starting with a flashback, then a present scene, then another flashback, then another present scene, etc. Because of this the narrative doesn’t flow as smoothly as I would like; every time I’m starting to get immersed in a given scene, we’re already jumping to a different point in time. On the other hand, the purpose of this structure is clear. While I’m not the biggest fan of this type of narrative execution, the flashbacks do provide relevant context that will no doubt inform the upcoming chapters. With this being the halfway point in the story, it makes sense to establish that context now rather than later, because this allows the creative team to start using the upcoming issues to really build toward the endgame.
Speaking of which, I’m pretty sure that the endgame is going to revolve around Mr. Bloom. This character has been scheming in the background for a while now, and the further the plot progresses, the more important Mr. Bloom seems to become, which is cool and interesting because I think that Rosenberg writes the character well. When Mr. Bloom was first introduced during Snyder and Capullo’s Superheavy arc, I wasn’t sure if we would see the character again, let alone in what capacity. He seemed to be the kind of character whose design absolutely rocks, but I just wasn’t entirely convinced by the writing behind the character. The creative team of Task Force Z has been developing Mr. Bloom beyond being just a cool-looking horror freak, and at this point it’s mainly his schemes and evil plans that we don’t quite understand yet that make this series so fun for me.
Furthermore, I’m in two minds about the scene involving Jason and Bruce. I think their dialogue is fine and the fight choreography is pretty damn good, but both characters are basically talking each other’s ears off during their battle. They talk and talk while punching and kicking each other, and these two things really don’t mesh well at all. The lengthy dialogue distracts from the visuals, and while I’m able to suspend my disbelief a lot with all the crazy stuff that’s going on in this book, I find this harder to do when it concerns a fight scene like this. For example, we see Jason kicking, and it’s a very fast high kick aimed at Bruce’s head. In the same panel we see Bruce dodging underneath it. Jason also somehow manages to speak a total of 40 words in this panel, but he shouldn’t be able to say that much within that very brief moment. In my opinion, the more dialogue a writer adds to a fight scene, the less balanced the fight scene becomes. The occasional quip is fine, but in this case I think the writer goes overboard and gets in his own as well as the artist’s way.
But really, the art is so strong throughout! Jack Herbert pencils and inks the entire issue, filling in for Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira, and Herbert absolutely kicks ass. His sequential game is top notch, to a point that this almost feels like a cinematic experience, as there’s a strong sense of motion in his art. These are not merely pretty pictures, these are actual sequences, and that’s what I love to see in my comics—it’s the main reason I love this medium so much in the first place! It’s so good, in fact, that Herbert almost makes it look easy. There’s real care put into the creation of every sequence and every single panel, and I really respect that. Herbert is clearly a creator who cares about his art.
While I do prefer to see Barrows drawing this entire series himself just for more visual cohesion, I think Herbert’s style matches Barrows’ well. Even though Barrows’ layouts and panel shapes are a bit more playful and experimental, the sheer quality of Herbert’s art is a great match for Barrows’ excellent work. It also helps that Adriano Lucas continues to provide colors, as it is Lucas who plays a key role in maintaining this visual cohesion. I’ve also become a huge fan of Lucas’ work. His colors are always vibrant and beautiful, and they add more layers and life to whatever art he’s working with, especially when the artist is as good as Herbert.
- You are in the mood for some technically impressive artwork.
- You are invested in Mr. Bloom’s arc.
- You are a fan of action-driven horror comics, filled with plot twists.
Overall: It might not be a perfect issue, but it’s still a very fun issue. It’s also an important issue, because this advances several plot points and it creates more focus for the series going forward by sewing the seeds for the comic’s endgame. Task Force Z #6 also features two incredible artists that provide a lot of eye candy all the way through. Recommended!
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with an advance copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.