By Judd Winick, Ron Garney, Tom Fowler & Paul Lee (DC Comics)
Collecting issues #52, 54-59 of the monthly series this is a non-stop action bath, meant as part of the build-up to the Infinite Crisis, so all your enjoyment centres can focus on the craft and skill of the creators, because by the end of the book it won’t matter since that mega-crossover event will unmake and cancel out everything that has gone before.
The plot concerns the hunt by Green Arrow and Black Lightning for serial rapist and super-psycho Dr. Light who wants to torture and kill the loved ones of all the heroes he can find. This is because he is a very psycho super-psycho, but also because he was lobotomised by the Justice League (see Identity Crisis, ISBN: 1-34576-126-X) and since his recovery has been a bit tetchy.
The hunt escalates into an all-out battle with imported super-villains Mirror Master and Killer Frost as well as old rival Merlyn, an assassin who hates being the World’s Second Greatest Archer. Whilst they occupy the good guys Light stalks Mia, (Green Arrow’s latest sidekick) who he thinks of as just a teen-aged girl…
The action is intense, and the dialogue wonderful, but the story won’t appeal or even be understandable to new readers and the power of the cliffhanger ending is negated by the Cosmic Reset button of Infinite Crisis. The next volume will begin with the first One Year Later story-arc…
After a sterling run of truly superb costumed-hero adventures this total surrender to mindless violence makes for a dreadfully unsatisfactory conclusion, but writers Judd Winick and J. Calafiore, plus artists Tom Fowler, Ron Garney, Ron Lim, Paul Lee, Dan Davis, Rodney Ramos and Bill Reinhold can’t be blamed for that. Page by page and scene by scene this is great stuff, but the imposed conclusion renders all their fine work irrelevant. This is one for completists only, I’m afraid.
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