Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Rags Morales (p), Michael Bair (i)
With the shape-shifter Byth rampaging through the city of St. Roch, we see Shayera (Hawkwoman) and Animal Man are putting up a desperate fight against the creature. However, it's not until Hawkman & Hawkgirl arrive on the scene to prevent Byth's escape in their Thanagar space ship, that these four heroes are able to defeat this seemingly all powerful villain. We then see Shayera heads back to Thanagar with Byth in custody.
I must confess I was a bit disappointed that this issue didn't do more with Animal Man, as I've always found the character to be a refreshing take on the concept of a super-hero, as Buddy is one of the only heroes I know of that has a wife and two kids waiting for him at home. Now sure there's some pretty intense action to be found in this issue, but even this felt a bit like it was simply falling back on the proven plot elements instead of trying anything new or different. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that this book felt like it was playing it safe, as the action moves along in a rather perfunctory manner, and for a long time reader like myself it felt a bit too familiar. So we have the villain who can't think of anything better to do than rampage about like a crazed lunatic, while our heroes make their highly dramatic entrances, such as Hawkman smashing his way into the ship on page twelve. Now the shape-shifting ability of the villain makes things somewhat interesting in the latter half of the fight, and there's a nice little moment where we see her grief has Shayera welcoming death when it looks inevitable. The big attack on page sixteen is also quite impressive, but in the end I have to say this issue didn't really offer up anything I hadn't seen many times before, and this is starting to become a real concern on this title.
As for the art, while the writing is treading familiar ground, I have to give the art all the credit in the world for delivering some of the most exciting action in comics. I mean right from the credit page shot of the villain rampaging it's way through a panicked crowd, to the equally impressive shot of the ship smashing into the villain, the art really added a sense of excitement to the proceedings. There's also a nice understated quality to the final page where the book is closed on Katar Hol, and the cover to this issue is a truly lovely bit of work.
A fairly entertaining issue that is somewhat undone by the general sense that the story is simply going through the hoops that have proven successful in the past. The villain of the story is little better than a raging beast, while our heroes are basically going about their various heroic deeds with very little imagination shown when it comes to endangering these characters. I mean, from a visual sense this issue looks fantastic, but as a longtime comic reader I found the action to be quite predictable, and honestly I had been hoping for something a bit more. Now there's some fairly big impact moments such as the credit page shot when the fight smashes it's way through the festival, and Hawkman attack using the ship as a battering ram was nicely done, but I simply couldn't work up much excitement, and I was particularly disappointed by the idea that Animal Man was given precious little to do beyond move about on the sidelines making minor contributions to the villain's defeat.
What did you think of this book?
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