Burn. Burn away.
Buccellato closes the penultimate chapter of Year Three with an interesting temporary status quo and mostly succeeds with some good character moments and action.
Not to forget, Redondo and Millar are back full-time on this title and gives us some of the best artwork in recent times.
Dick takes over Poison Ivy’s body and brings her to the battle as a counter for Swamp Thing. Then he takes over Shazam (yes, poor Billy gets taken over a second time by Deadman) and manages to save Bruce from Diana’s grasp.
I’m not sure as to how Dick manages to overwhelm Billy given his more experienced predecessor was quickly taken out thanks to Billy’s unique situation, so that’s a confusing situation.
In Billy’s body, Dick apologizes for all the quarrels they’ve had and that Bruce should be proud of him and by extension, try to forgive and bring back Damian.
Huntress and Batwoman attempt to attack a weakened Superman but Wonder Woman’s intervention leads to a fatal scenario where Helena’s neck gets snapped through Diana’s misjudgement using her lasso.
Trigon’s enraged mood light the area on fire, leading to everyone setting up a temporary truce. Hal manages to reach the House of Mystery but the battle going on outside affects all of them. Both Hal and Sinestro are cut off from their power sources, Superman weakens and the human heroes are getting displaced from reality.
John decides to release the only person capable of bringing the heroes on the outside into the protective auras of the Houses. But he’s too late to save one – Swamp Thing, who is displaced to Hell.
The Resistance remains in the House of Mystery while the Superman Army is in the House of Secrets as reality gets torn apart on the outside.
Helena’s death came a little abruptly but I thought it was treated well with Kate’s rage induced attack on Diana. Now, even Diana has innocent blood on her hands – and although as a warrior she’s had her kill count, we can got back to Klarion’s death at Sinestro’s hands to see she still has a moral compass.
Onto Swamp Thing. I felt the short-lived battle with Pamela Isley aka Poison Ivy was half-baked at best and filler at worst. Though the Hell-Heaven thing brings me to where all the souls lost in previous Years are (Green Arrow, Captain Atom, Joker…..). Really creates a problem if you think about status quo, but I don’t think we’ll have any issues here.
The Dick Grayson thing was a farewell scene in the making since he came back as Deadman, but now he’s starting to feel extraneous to the story.
This join-together-to-battle-the-big-bad was something I wasn’t expecting. This story is still trying it’s best to keep Superman and his team as misunderstood anti-heroes rather than all-out villains and I think it’s succeeding.
Despite being the penultimate chapter of Year Three, this issue feels anything but. There is a slower tempo here that shouldn’t be the pace of a title with one issue left.
There are great moments though, but most fail to excite as much as they could have.
The artwork though is stellar.
So, I give it 6.5 out of 10.
+The artwork is fantastic
+Some heartfelt moments
-One particular character’s entry feels extraneous
-A lackluster tempo that goes against this issue’s importance
-The ending doesn’t have the required impact