“Five by Five Part One: New Business”
Writer: Judd Winick
Artist: Tom Raney
The Fearsome Five regroup, a formidable force with some anti-Lexcorp agendas sure to bring them into conflict with Nightwing’s little club.
This is a seriously morbid, creepy issue. Death is right there from page one, as we examine Shimmer’s desiccated corpse in close-up. The chaos and mass destruction that follows tallies up a major death toll. This issue, in keeping with a grim cover by Raney, focuses more on the actions of the villains than the heroes, which makes for an effectively chilling start to this new arc.
Usually it’s not too great an idea to have the villains cackle on about how evil they are, but as it’s Dr. Sivana doing the gloating, I don’t really mind how closely Winick veers to meta-textual commentary here. What he’s showing is a group of unscrupulous people who enjoy carrying out their nefarious agenda (many of them recently escaped from confinement), and it certainly creates a sense of menace that rivals the demonic nutcase that Winick sent against the team a few issues back.
I really like, in fact, Winick’s willingness to include the Marvel family in his corner of the DC universe (as Marvel Jr. was used to combat that previous menace). Winick knows his continuity, and makes almost as much use of it as Johns does for his stories.
The violent corporate takeovers are basically lifted from Kevin Smith’s avenging (truant) angels in his movie Dogma, but they’re well-enough played nonetheless. Psimon is as creepy as ever, and while I have less of a handle on Gizmo or Jinx, I really like Winick’s characterization of the brutish Mammoth. While this hulk is certainly not a thinker, he’s not a complete idiot, either, and he’s credibly persistent in his goal of getting his sister back amongst the living. As usual, Winick shines with dialogue, especially when dealing with the perverse Psimon.
Less interesting: Oh, what of the heroes? Uhm, Jade’s pretty, Shift is funny, and it’s nice to see anyone (Jade) challenge Dick on his policies - but it’s really not their issue. This is the antagonists’ turn in the spotlight, and Raney handles the action well. He also comes up with a pretty good new Goth look for Shimmer, leaving us still a bit curious about any changes due to her revival.
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