As I’ve said before, Task Force Z’s second half just hasn’t been as strong as its first half. The main problem is that the story’s all over the place and it’s seemingly lost sense of direction. What is this comic trying to say anymore? Where plot twists were interesting and exciting before, now they seem kind of random, and I’m hoping that these last three issues can tie everything together and that the creative team sticks the landing. For that to succeed, this issue needs to be more focused. Without further ado, let’s have a look.
In general, this issue is kind of rambly. We have a present day plot and a flashback plot. While I think the structure works to an extent, because at least it’s clearly indicated when we are in the past or present, I don’t really enjoy how the story jumps around through time. The present day scenes don’t advance the main plot as much as they should because they essentially are an extended fight sequence. While the flashback scenes do provide us with some relevant information, they ultimately just lead to a cliffhanger that feels more random than exciting, the latter obviously being what the creative team was going for. I can picture a lot of readers thinking, “Who even is that character?” when they reach the final page, because I don’t think that the character that’s being revealed here is really that popular or well-remembered, even though he debuted relatively recently in an issue of Batman.
The fighting in the present day scenes is very entertaining, because Barrows, Ferreira and Lucas are such a fantastic art team. These characters hit hard; the choreography is well thought-out and executed; and I love how the characters move from one stage to the next (for example, Jason grabbing Bloom and smashing through a glass window and landing outside to continue fighting). The layouts are fantastic, as they create a good sense of pacing as well as kinetic action. If you’re looking for a fight comic this week, this might actually be the one for you. Lucas’ colors, as always, are a delight throughout the entire issue, blending so smoothly with Ferreira’s inks and always offering a variety of matching hues to feast your eyes on. The present day scenes are the ones where this art team can really show off their skills.
Of course the art throughout the flashbacks is very good, too, but there isn’t much happening there. It’s nice to be able to take a breather in between all the present day chaos, and the reason that I’m getting bored reading the flashbacks is not on the artists at all. The problem mainly lies with the dialogue and the interactions between the characters. The flashbacks are almost entirely set inside the Chop Shop lab. We see Two-Face, Waller, Bloom and a few members of the Suicide Squad, including Peacemaker. However, nobody really does anything interesting. For example, Waller’s saying a whole lot of nothing, essentially she’s just angrily shouting the entire time. The dialogue itself is functional when it’s more serious, but these scenes are so wordy that I’m not really enjoying any of it. It certainly doesn’t help that almost none of the jokes are funny to me, either, to a point that I feel like the writer is trying way too hard to make his audience laugh. For example, there’s an entire page dedicated to Peacemaker killing a random character with a single punch for some reason. I guess it’s meant to establish Waller’s dominance or something, but why waste an entire page on this?
It feels like we’re crawling toward the finale instead of buckling up and racing toward it with excitement. I have no idea where this story is going, and while that used to be a positive point for this series, now it’s just a bit of mess. This book started out fun and had good comedic bits, but I think that at this point Rosenberg is taking things too far, where this second half feels more like a parody of the first half.
- You’re looking for a good fight comic with strong, kinetic art.
- The flaws of this series don’t bother you; you have come this far and are determined to ride this out.
- Mr. Bloom’s schemes continue to intrigue you, despite a rambling narrative.
Overall: I’m still hoping that the creative team can stick the landing, but there are too many moving parts and not enough narrative focus. While I enjoyed a lot of the jokes in previous issues, none of the jokes work for me here and only distract from the story, and this issue is unnecessarily wordy. The art is excellent, though. Barrows, Ferreira and Lucas are turning in fantastic work, especially the drawn-out fight sequence that runs throughout the present day sections. That said, I don’t really recommend this issue, except to those who have come this far and want to see it through. The ending might still pay off, after all. Let’s cross our fingers and hope for the best.
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.