Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Mike McKone (p), Marlo Alquiza (i)
As Impulse makes a quick recovery from his devastating injury, we see Cyborg and Beast Boy aren't fairing all that well against Deathstroke, thanks in large part to the revelation that Deathstroke is playing host to their former friend/teammate Jericho. As the young members of the team arrive at the battle, we see Robin finds himself up against Deathstroke all by his lonesome, but the arrival of a newly costumed Bart keeps this battle from ending badly.
Having Jericho behaving in such an aggressive fashion is a bit like a writer offering up Captain America goose-stepping his way through Avengers Mansion, as up until his rather abrupt and poorly conceived change into a raving villain shortly before his death, Jericho was the very definition of a non-aggressive personality. However, his explanation for his changed behavior does hold up rather nicely, even if I don't quite grasp the logic of why he has to kill to make his point beyond the idea that it makes him a better villain. Still this issue is filled with enough cooler than heck moments that frankly it's quite easy to look past this odd behavior, starting with a truly devastating shot where Cyborg is taken out of the fight. There's also the ever harrowing fight that has Robin taking on Deathstroke, and to say that he didn't fair all that well is putting it lightly, as if not for the intervention of a teammate Tim would be sporting a gaping hole where his head used to be. However, given I'm a huge Impulse fan most of my enjoyment in this issue comes from the sense of respect that the character is given, as not only is he back in the game by the halfway point of this issue, but the final sequence of this issue is a truly wonderful display of his power. Also while I knew it was coming thanks to the preview art DC has released, that last page reveal still managed to impress.
As for the art, it's great to see Mike McKone is still holding his own as if I had one concern about his being this book's regular artist it was the fact that he hadn't really shown me he was capable of delivering a monthly title. However, his art is solid enough that I'm more than willing to accept the regular use of guest artists, as Mike McKone has really come into his own on this title. From the one page shot of that shocking attack upon Cyborg that opens the issue, to the wonderful sense of urgency that is developed when Robin is taking on Deathstroke, the art does a great job selling the more exciting elements of the story. I also enjoy the final page sequence where we see Bart makes his rather impressive return to the team, and the new costume design looks fantastic.
Action is truly the name of the game in these early issue, as in addition to some solid usage of plot elements from the Wolfman/Pérez era, Geoff Johns has saw fit to offer up some truly impressive shocking twists, and some genuinely harrowing action. This issue opens with Cyborg taking a frightening looking injury at the hands of Deathstroke, and Robin fans will want to give this issue a look as I do believe this marks the first time that Tim has tried his luck against Deathstroke and it's a fairly telling display of how much work Tim has to do before he's going to be able to play with the big dogs. However the real surprise in this issue is the scenes involving Impulse, as this issue seems to have a great deal of respect for the character's abilities, and it offers up two scenes that perfectly capture the speed that Bart is capable of, with the final pages of the issue being a truly wonderful moment for Impulse fans. Plus, given the injury that Deathstroke delivered at the end of issue two, I can't wait to see how Bart deals with this situation in the next issue.
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