It’s chapter three of the third arc, and I don’t know about you guys, but I’m ready to dig into this one. Last month Waid, Mora and Bonvillain left us with a great cliffhanger. Can they live up to expectations and deliver another chapter of the same quality? Let’s have a look.
This is an exciting, action-packed issue. There’s a lot of fighting throughout the book, and toward the end there’s more focus on plot development. Those who are looking for a more plot-heavy comic might not necessarily find that here, but I promise that the glorious visuals and the execution of the fight scenes makes this worth your while. What’s interesting is how this is a pretty goofy chapter, where characters with weird names appear and where Batman wears armor formed by the Metal Men. These things shouldn’t work, but it seems that Mora and Bonvillain can take any goofy concept and draw the hell out of it and then get away with it. At the same time, the book has more serious moments as our heroes are scrambling to save the day. The creative team strikes a fine balance between the seriousness and the over-the-top visuals by executing everything they do at a very high level.
Furthermore, Dick Grayson fans should pay attention, as Dick plays a big part in this chapter. If it wasn’t yet clear that Waid understands exactly who Dick is and what he does, this issue hammers it home. Dick’s personality and voice are written accurately, and Dick’s actions also contribute to advancing the overall plot. Waid isn’t merely relegating Robin to the role of sidekick, but gives him agency and purpose beyond that role. A lot of scenes are told from his perspective, and Waid turns the Boy Wonder into a steadfast protagonist.
This issue also has good pacing and it gives me the feeling there actually are things at stake. There are a number of things going on: we see innocent people that need to be saved; we see Superman under the influence of Kryptonite; we see how the heroes that are called on for backup are all busy fighting off other villains; we get to see a robot uprising; and Batman and Superman get captured. Of course, regarding the latter point, we all know that Batman and Superman are going to survive. But Waid writes it in a way that creates suspense since we’re not sure how they are going to get out of this situation, and there’s also more plot-related stuff going on in the background that’s intriguing and promises twists and turns and more action next month.
Lastly, Waid is using a rather large cast of characters in this episode. Naturally, not all of the characters can take center stage at once, and more than a few remain in the background and don’t seem to leave any sort of lasting impact on the story for now. However, this also seems to be by design. The amount of heroes that make their appearance makes sense in the context of the story: it’s a way to show how evil is attacking from all sides at once, without having any of the heroes get in the way of the actual protagonists. It’s easy to put multiple characters in the same issue—it’s surprisingly hard to find a purpose for each of them, however small a purpose it may be. That said, I do think that this is about as many heroes as you can squeeze into a single chapter. But as long as Waid’s writing remains focused, that shouldn’t be problem.
- Dick Grayson is your favorite character.
- A fine balance of goofiness and seriousness is just what you need.
- You want to read action-packed fight comics that still have intriguing plot developments and great characterization.
Overall: Once again, Waid, Mora and Bonvillain deliver strong sequential storytelling. The art absolutely rocks and Waid writes a tight script that’s well-paced and has strong characterization, where Dick Grayson is a highlight. This continues to be DC’s best comic, and I can’t recommend it enough!
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.