"The Return of Duel"
"Trick or Treat"
Writers: Wilson Hill
Artists: Gordon Purcell, Terry Pallot, Melchman(c)
Big Stupid Events have many things in common. Out of character behavior that nobody in the story seems to notice is a massive denominator. Hell, Azrael replaced Batman, and Jim Gordon didn't see any difference. Clearly, Gordon was not elected because of his observational skills.
Flare acts completely out of character this issue. Her dialogue bears a sharpness previously unheard or unread, if you prefer. She comports herself differently in the book. She behaves in varying degrees of extreme temperament. So clearly, the writer hasn't researched, or the editor is preparing readers for Heroic's Big Stupid Event.
In Flare everybody--friends, enemies and interested parties who have studied her--believes that the heroine's acting wonky. This change of course has roots in previous issues, but new readers do not need to know that. Wilson Hill's story compactly and with intelligence details Flare's aberrant behavior.
A better accounting of Flare's normal personality can be found in the second story starring her sister Sparkplug. Flare, a pair of the Champions and the ever fun Black Enchantress guest star in a light, bouncy tale that shows the super-heroes letting down their hair to party and to prank an archetype identity sniffer.
Artwork by Gordon Purcell and Terry Pallot provides a uniformly appealing pair of tales. The first story features some tasteful cheesecake that plays into Flare's severe mood swings. So it does have purpose, and the artist indicates that despite being fairly open minded about nudity Flare is likely pushing it a little, just a little, over the top. Nude or clothed, Flare looks impressive in the pencils of Purcell and the subsumed inks of Pallot.
Pallot's own style differs vastly from Purcell's sketching. The total package of Pallot's pencils and inks can be seen in the second tale, and he provides an emphasis on humorous expression and body language that fits the free-wheeling mood of the short.
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