Writer: Ty Templeton
Artists: Clement Sauve Jr. and Norm Breyfogle (p), Dennis Jenke (i)
Publisher: D.C. Comics
As Sergeant Montgomery Kelly makes a rather unsettling discovery about himself, we see his efforts to bring a halt to the traitorous action of the demon creature that lead them into the Hell where the captured soldiers are being held, are stymied by his fellow soldiers who are left unconvinced that he's still fighting for their side. However, his efforts are able to not only win the day, but also earn him a rather unusual new command.
The main drawing power that this miniseries had going for it was the idea that a band of ordinary soldiers would be called into action against all manner of threats in the DCU, and my biggest problem with this arc is that when one gets right down to it aside from the Starro invasion training sequence this entire miniseries has been largely devoid of plot elements that place it within the DCU. Now sure there are surface details like our lead character being interviewed by Vicki Vale, and the demons make mention of deflecting the invading troops Neron's way, but for the most part this miniseries has been content to have it's cast dealing with a band of demon creatures who not only pose a very small challenge to this band of heavily armed/trained soldiers, but also seem to be doing little to endanger the world at large. Now I guess one could point out that this was a rescue mission, but even this is nowhere near as exciting as it could be as by page two we already know the mission was a success, and as such the rest of the issue is simply watching how they managed to secure this victory. What makes it even less enjoyable is that we're reminded again and again during the story that these demons are little better than cannon fodder, and the main victory is accomplished by a single character who is essentially sporting superpowers, which undermines the central premise of ordinary soldiers taking on extraordinary threats.
As for the art, I'm guessing Norm Breyfogle is the one handling the action set in the present day, while Clement Sauve Jr. delivers the flashback material in Hell. Now the former is largely talking heads so Norm Breyfogle's work isn't overly impressive, but he does offer up a fairly solid array of facial expressions which is always a welcome sight. As for the action, the art does some pretty solid work capturing the more shocking moments of the story, as the scene where out main hero pulls that massive sword out of his chest, and uses it to decapitate one of his captors, the art did a nice job of capturing the violence of this attack without playing up the gore. The scene where we get a look at the rather sorry state of out hero after his battle with the demon is also nicely handled, as one can understand why the other soldiers would be reluctant to believe he's on their side.
The idea sounded so promising going in that I'm more disappointed that it was never truly realize, than I am over the rather pedestrian nature of the plot itself. I mean taking a band of soldiers and sending them on a mission into Hell is an interesting premise, but the story makes an active effort to let us know that the demons they encounter are completely useless when it comes to being a threat, and the even the one interesting aspect where they are able to pull the soldier they do manage to kill over to their side is undone by the fact that these undead minions still respond to the orders given by their living commanding officers. So in essence we have a band of demons who are incapable of presenting a decent treat, and a band of zombie soldiers who will stop when ordered to. I also didn't care much for the idea that the big rescue was performed by a solider who had effectively been given superpowers, as it feels like this issue's ending is saying that a band of ordinary soldiers needed that extra edge to win the day.
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!