Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Jesus Saiz
Publisher: DC Comics
A.K.A. Checkmate #0. If you didnít know that going in or had never read the OMAC series from last year, I donít know what youíre doing here. Youíll probably be a bit more lost than I was, which, considering I had read last yearís miniseries and all of Infinite Crisis thus far, was more lost than I planned to be. I often have faith in Greg Ruckaís writing, but he clearly seems more suited for independent projects that donít participate in crossovers.
Plus: Unlike the past two Crisis specials, OMAC takes place after the events of the most recent issue of Crisis, rather than overlapping them. The Rann/Thanagar War Special observed what the space heroes were doing in the meantime, but the crux of the issue revolved around a plot point that had already been revealed. OMAC delivers new information about the fallout of the Brother Eye satellite as well as where Checkmate stands following Maxwell Lordís demise.
Minus: It almost seems like this issue suffers for not overlapping the Crisis, since the events within will have virtually no impact on the events of Crisis. The main players are few and only those who will have significance in the upcoming Checkmate series. Itís not that this betrays the aim of the book, but after the relative significance of the past two specials, this was something of a letdown in scope and impact.
Plus: There are big developments for Sasha, favorable ones at that.
Minus: But these developments quickly undo a status quo that was hardly explored at all.
Plus: Still, Iíve got no problems with the end result here.
Minus: Iíve only been reading DC for perhaps a decade, so when I saw a team of Rocket Reds, I have to rub my eyes and blink twice. Wasnít that guy killed in the miniseries? Wasnít his death sort of a big deal for the heroes? Hey, I guess he was expendable. As of now Iíve Wikiíed the guy and found out that, yes, there was a whole team, but the guy who sacrificed himself was a former Leaguer. Still, confusing for casual readers.
Plus: Rucka finally gets to sink his mits into the DCU political and espionage scene. The upcoming Checkmate series has been literally four years in the making, from their reintroduction at the end of Ruckaís Detective run. Itís good to see the Presidentís active involvement in the DCU, and Iím rather pleased that itís a fictional President rather than one who will appeal to the 30% of readers who still approve of him.
Minus: Itís a little convenient that Amanda Waller is right there to get appointed. I know she was placed among the Joint Chiefs of Staff during Lex Luthorís presidency, but I wouldíve liked if there was a more formal reintroduction for her and her role.
Plus: There are very few writers out there who can write strong and compelling female characters like Rucka, and weíve got four of them here. Sasha, Waller, Midnight (another Checkmate official) and Fire.
Minus: Wait, Fire? Wasnít she just out superheroing with Booster, Guy and the other Leaguers in last yearís miniseries? Why does she suddenly have a figurative leash around her neck? It feels like her inclusion wishes this story occurred One Year Later, but as thatís not the case, itís another confusing oversight.
Hopefully Rucka has all the loose ends tied up for the Checkmate series to begin. There are enough accessibility complaints in comics today without a typically reliable writer giving one of his self-proclaimed fans a bad case of head-scratching.
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