Writer: Ty Templeton
Artists: Clement Sauve Jr (p), Juan Vlasco (i)
As our lead character is spending a little downtime with his fellow soldiers we see his heated comments about his commanding officer force him to justify his statement with an explanation for his hostile feelings. We then look back on a mission where we see another solider in the bar describes the highly aggressive behavior that he's witnessed from his commanding officers in their latest mission, and during this conversation we learn all these solider have been having a the same nightmare, about the demon vampires from the first issue.
This issue offers up a story told in flashback and as such unlike the previous chapters it doesn't really have the underlying sense of danger & uncertainty that we found in the previous issues, as we know the character is going to survive whatever dangerous situation he finds himself in. Now the issue does asks a fairly interesting question about the role of the Human Defense Corps, as we see one of the soldiers is starting to ask why are they taking action against so many earth born threats, when the squadron was originally formed to battle off world threats. However, with the Starro threat in the previous issue, and the extra-dimensional demons from the first issue, this argument does look a bit weak, as essentially this character is annoyed that the threats they do face aren't visitors from outer space. However, this issue also asks the question of whether these mole people are a real threat, or are they simply an underground race that are acting to defend their homes from a group they believe are invaders, and the question then becomes if these mole people weren't endangering people on the surface than what right does the Human Defense Corps have going after them. It's an interesting idea issue, but the action isn't nearly as engaging as the previous chapters, due to the fact that we know our lead character is never in any real danger.
As for the art, Clement Sauve Jr. has a fairly engaging style that lends itself quite nicely to the more action orientated sections of the issue, with the scene inside the issue that inspires the equally impressive cover being the highlight of the issue. The nightmarish quality of the dream environment that our lead character continually slips into is also nicely handled, as it's quite easy to understand why this character is deeply disturbed by these visits. There's also some fun background details, like the "Whack a Mole" poster.
When I first heard about this miniseries I was quite excited as I had hoped this book would take us on a whirlwind tour, as we followed a squadron of soldiers as they were sent in to deal with threats that we normally see the JLA, JSA, or the Titans taking on. Instead, what we've been given is a rather mundane trip around the outer fringes of the DCU, where these soldiers are battling threats that would barely be considered cannon fodder in the other team books. The characters could also stand a little more attention, as we're halfway into this story, and there's only a couple of characters who have really benefited from some attention. Still, of the issues we've received thus far this one asks the most interesting questions, as the purpose of this fighting division is called into question by one of its own, and the answers aren't exactly forthcoming. The final pages of this issue also set up what looks to be a rather promising story, involving the shared dreams subplot that has been running through these pages.
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