Task Force Z #7 review

Last month there was quite a bit of plot development and it felt like the story was really hitting its stride. This series has been entertaining to read and fun to review, but I’m hoping that the comic won’t lose steam now that we’re past the halfway point. This series thrives on forward momentum and action. So is this another successful issue? Let’s have a look.

I would say that this is a successful issue in the sense that it seems like it’s meant to be a bridging issue between the series’ halfway point and the upcoming endgame. So in that regard, I think this issues accomplishes what it is supposed to accomplish. However, as a single issue, I’m not too impressed by it. That doesn’t mean I disliked this altogether, but I definitely wasn’t as entertained this time around. The reason is that there is just a whole lot of talking in this issue, and not a whole lot of action. Characters are discussing what they will do in the future, they’re making plans, and then there are even random dialogue moments that are supposed to be comedic but which just didn’t really work for me.

Of course there’s still a bit of action here. For example, there’s a fight scene between Jason and Zsasz. The problem with fight scenes like these, though, is that there is just way too much dialogue going on. In an issue that’s already dialogue-heavy, it’s the fight scenes where the writer can take a step back and just let the art tell the story. It allows the book to breathe more. That’s not the case here. Dialogue almost always gets in the way of action sequences, and I wish that writers would start to see this too. Furthermore, the fight itself, while it does have a purpose in the story, still feels a little random to me. I think the reason for that is that the location is so random and because this should have been set up better. I don’t see why Zsasz would be holing up in that specific location, or why the fight needs to take place there, other than it giving the artist the opportunity to have fun with the backgrounds and the choreography.

What I’m really missing from this issue, though, is a key, memorable moment. The previous issues all have that for me, but not this one. Issue #7 reads more like a middle-of-the-road chapter, almost like filler or padding, than a truly important part of the larger story. Sure, there is a cool moment where Two-Face confronts Geri Powers and he absolutely owns that scene by putting Powers in her place and being menacingly intimidating, but at the end of the day it still reads like countless other intimidation scenes found in other stories. The scene is good, it’s well-written and pretty cool. I just wish there was more oomph to it. It’s a shame when I feel like a scene has the potential to be great, but it just doesn’t quite reach that potential.

Moreover, the artwork is pretty strong, but I’m disappointed in the fact that this entire series is no longer visually consistent. The amazing Adriano Lucas does a fantastic job coloring the book, thereby maintaining some degree of visual consistency, and his colors always make any art pop, enhancing the pencils and the inks that are already there. But even with a colorist as talented as Lucas, having two artists working on this issue and Barrows being completely absent just doesn’t really do the series any favors.

See, the artwork is solid. It’s a bit hard to tell for me who drew which passages, but I can say that in particular the scene where Two-Face confronts Powers is drawn very effectively. I love how the artist lingers on Two-Face’s scarred side to emphasize how intimidating and threatening he can be. I like how Powers is trying to stand her ground, but how Two-Face towers over her and how we end on a close-up on his bulging eye. This is very strong visual storytelling! But neither of these artists’ styles resembles Barrows’ at all. At least I think Herbert does emulate Barrows’ style a little bit when he starts playing with panel layouts, but other than that, these guys are just doing their own thing. In short, I’m glad that the art continues to be good, but a miniseries like this needs more visual consistency. We’ve seen three or four pencillers on this book already, and it just makes for a bit of a messy aesthetic overall, and that’s a shame, because it does lower the quality of this comic when that’s absolutely not necessary.

Recommended if…

  • You don’t mind middle-of-the-road issues that feel a little bit like filler/padding.
  • You like reading a lot of dialogue in your comics.
  • You are a fan of Lucas’ amazing colors!

Overall: Most of what happens in this issue is relevant, but the issue is lacking a strong, memorable moment that allows this one to stand on its own. I also think there’s way too much talking and not enough action, especially for this title, which has been very action-driven so far. It’s not a boring issue and it’s definitely not a bad issue. I just wish it was more than just a middle-of-the-road entry and I wish that Eddy Barrows will return next month to finish out the rest of the series himself. Lastly, I only recommend this comic to those who are already invested in Task Force Z. When read out of context, this issue probably isn’t going to convince new readers to get into the series.

Score: 6/10

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