ďThere Is No I In TeamĒ
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Jesus Saiz
Publisher: DC Comics
Plot: Batman looks into Beetleís death, as Max Lord looks at him looking into it, while Brother Eye looks at everyone, everywhere.
Comments: This is a paranoia-run-rampant story. Itís dark and scary. Itís an improvement over the Countdown Special as at last the heroes are at least realizing the scope of their mistake when it comes to not aiding Blue Beetle when he asked for help.
Not that their reasoning has ever made sense, but at least now theyíre having normal and believable reactions to his death, and acting like teammates rather than surly loners. Or, rather, teammates who are surly loners, but thatís the best we can hope for post Identity Crisis.
That sad series is the direct thread picked up for this story, as Batmanís choices prove youíre not really paranoid if everyone is out to get you. The betrayal perpetrated on him by Zatanna and his other erstwhile teammates to cover up the Dr. Light mind-fix led him to build the Omac machine, which has now betrayed him for Max Lord and Checkmate. Three wrongs not making a right.
The machinations of Check Mate remain inscrutable, as does Lordís obvious conflict between being a meta (or is he a robot?) and trying to police other metas. Heís an evil genius of uncalculated scope, and presumably as expendable as his former JLI cohorts. Making Sasha Bordeaux a focal character for this side of the story at least humanizes the stakes somewhat, and her link to Batman is either her salvation or (more likely) her undoing.
Some of the more internecine plot developments here remain inscrutable, but a building sense of dread is maintained, as we sense where things might be going; Batman will survive, but will he take down Lord or OMAC first? Itís a darker DC Universe, but so far itís not a boring one.
Saiz is a real find for the DC universe, grounding this story with nuanced facial expressions, strong spatial arrangement and imaginative sci-fi tech.
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