After last issue’s big reveal opened up a can of worms, Brian Buccellatto seems to have got down to setting up the finale
But the can is not going anywhere, and inconsistent artwork is a problem as well.
But Buccellatto does make up with some impressive character work, during and after action scenes.
Constantine, Dr Fate, Batman and Deadman (formerly Boston Brand, currently Dick Grayson) peruse over the current situation at the House of Mystery. While I do expect John and Fate to ‘see’ and ‘hear’ the ghostly Grayson, I’m not sure how Batman is aware of him. Well, magic, right?
Dick informs them that the fifth dimensional imp known as Mr Mxyzptlk (I’m not sure how to pronounce it) has taken up Superman’s cause, as we saw in the previous issue.
There are mentions of that Superman is his favorite plaything in the entire multiverse. But aren’t there other Supermen out there….ones who aren’t so corrupted? Mxyzptlk was more attracted to such a being’s do-gooder attitude than his Godlike powers. Doesn’t make sense.
And introducing the multiverse is a tricky thing. Where does Hell stand on that? Are there separate hells in every universe, or like Morrison’s map – there’s only one? Trigon being able to stand and fight so well with a seemingly omniscient Mxyzptlk seems like they have similar power levels, which is hard to grasp.
And there’s a serious Joker vibe coming off him, especially the facial structure he is given by Millar.
Trigon is temporarily subdued, while Mxyzptlk uses his ridiculous power set to bring Batman and co in front of Superman’s Army. But with back-up, Bruce’s team (courtesy Super-Pills) is able to get the upper hand on the Army – only for Swamp Thing to crash the party.
With Swamp Thing busy talking to the conniving Constantine, the rest of the teams separate into pairs. And we get to see some unique match-ups.
Whether it is Harley fighting over her new crush Shazam (it’s really weird when you realize Shazam is really a 13-year old), Sinestro being out-thought by Batwoman (I really liked that her military precision was brought up) or a talkative Catwoman being rendered flat on her face by Wonder Woman.
But everything comes to an awkward pause just as Constantine teleports away from Swamp Thing’s reach – and Bruce is knocked out by Shazam while distracted fighting Superman.
Not much of a cliffhanger……..
As I said before, introducing Mxy (what? I call him that!) opens up serious problems. While the Spectre was a serious threat to Bruce’s team – Mxy is on another level, given he can manipulate reality itself. Introducing such characters taking sides with killer instincts makes the premise seem ridiculous – why doesn’t he just clap Bruce and co out of existence?
Thankfully, Swamp Thing getting introduced makes it feel like we’re reaching the endgame of the arc after meandering for a bit.
The artwork by Mark Millar, a regular on this series, is great – and sadly, Pete Woods’ efforts in the second chapter prove a poor companion.
There are some good character moments, but it still feels like we’re stalling for the endgame just as it seems to arrive.
And the inconsistent artwork doesn’t help.
So, I give it 7.0 out of 10.
+Some good character work
+Millar’s artwork continues to impress
-A major antagonist sticks out like a sore thumb