Writer: Bob Harras
Artists: Marcos Martin (p), Alvaro Lopez (i)
Publisher: DC Comics
Plot: Breach struggles to control a growing sense of hostility that he comes to believe was planted inside him during a forcible mental contact that he was subjected to in the previous issue. He runs off into the wilderness so he can starve off the increasingly difficult to control desire to perform unspeakably evil acts. Breach then finds an unusual outlet that lets him burn out these malevolent urgings.
Comments: While this issue doesn't do anything wrong, it does fall victim to one of my biggest pet peeves as I'm long since past the point where I'm willing to accept the argument that one can defeat a villain's evil intentions by giving them exactly what they want, and then keep on pushing until you emerge none the worse for the wear at the other end. This issue has our hero infected by a virus that compels him to give into some decidedly inhuman urgings, and the clever solution that Bob Harras creates is to provide a punching bag that our hero can unleash his full fury upon until he burns this virus out of his system. However, just once I'd like to see one of these "keep pushing until it breaks" plans prove to be a unmitigated disaster, as how would he have known that by giving into his urgings that he would eventually arrive at a point where the virus would be burned out of his system? This type of solution has been played out literally hundreds of time in comics, and each and every time I find myself waiting for the one writer who would take the unexpected path where the hero discovered that giving into the villain's plan was the dumbest move he could have ever made. However, Bob Harras takes the path that all other writers have before him, and this left me a little disillusioned with this issue, as there was a moment where it really looked like he was going to do something truly unexpected. Still, I will give the issue credit for getting off to a strong start, and the issue also sells well the idea that our hero had gone off the deep end, as how many comics can claim that their hero ripped the still beating heart out of their opponent? I also have to give the book credit for coming up with a pretty novel way of offering up the fan pleasing moment that is promised on the cover. There is a genuinely compelling reason driving this seemingly pointless slugfest. Plus, this book is effectively plays with current elements of DCU continuity, as Bob Harras writes a great Lex Luthor.
Marcos Martin really out does himself on this issue, as he gets the book off to an explosive start with one of the best looking credit page impact shots that I've seen in a good long while. He follows this up later in the issue as our hero goes a couple of rounds with Superman. The more nightmarish aspects of our hero's powers are also well presented by the art as there's a decidedly unsettling shot of what a body looks like after it's been subjected to the full force of his deadly touch. Of course, the art also deserves full marks for making the scene where he physically removes his opponent's heart a very disturbing looking sequence. I also enjoyed the cute little character moment where Superman tries to hide the fact that it actually hurt to make contact with our hero. The art also deftly captures the evil quality of the virus that is taking over Breach's mind, as there's a lovely shots of the character where it's all too clear that he's fully under its control, with the scene where he's pushing Superman to kill him being the visual highlight of this issue.
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