Writers: Fabian Nicieza, Kurt Busiek
Artists: Bill Sienkiewicz (p, i); Tom Grummett (p), Gary Erskine (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Plot: The New York media world takes note of their latest reformulated super-team of misfits, giving us a rundown on the current operating system of the comic.
Comments: This is a breather issue after the first arc, and it’s the sort of thing a complicated team book occasionally needs. In their downtime, the characters and personalities of our misfit assemblage perform non-big-battle movement on several fronts. This period of reflection serves the readers as well.
Melissa, powerless and injured again, disappointed in Abe and wise enough now to be wary of the future, takes her leave. Genis, exulting in his latest transformation, seems obliviously optimistic. Atlas, the powerhouse of the team, is as lost as ever. And the new members, Speed Demon, the Blizzard and Joystick, face ongoing temptation. Are they destined to be losers, like the seemingly reformed Atlas? Or will some of them succeed, as Mimi and (yes, despite her doubts) Abe has done?
Most interesting of all is the Radioactive Man. I’m impressed that Nicieza brings up the relative perspective that his countrymen see him as a hero, and that our political differences with China have colored our perceptions of him as a villain over the years. This Cold War product is showing more layers than ever suspected, and is positioned to take on a fresh new role in our current political landscape. That sort of nuanced exploration of “villainy” is what this title is really about.
Also interesting: Grummett and Sienkiewicz alternate art chores, splash page profiles for the former and the newscast talking heads format for the latter. This works surprisingly well. I’ll take Bill’s expressive inking over full narrative clarity any time. However, I do wonder about Nicieza including actual people as his commentators. When Black Panther provides Dondi Reece, does the Marvel Universe also have room for the actual Condoleeza Rice?
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