“The Son of the Father, the Father of the Son”
Plot: Arrow, Canary, Speedy and company reach the end of their quest. The nefarious power behind a year of alien suits, fake Leagues of Assassins, and Amazonian kidnappings? A little lady named Shado.
Comments: Well, at least it all makes a sort of sense. Turns out Shado’s kid (yet another illegitimate offspring of Ollie – how does Dinah put up with him at all?) was deathly ill, and she appealed to Dr. Sivana for help. Who actually did help, but his price was Ollie’s murder, which assassin Shado just kept managing not to quite achieve.
Which technically explains a year of fake-outs (I wasn’t even sure if it was the real Bruce by the time Batman finally showed up -- as he usually does in Winick stories -- to sort things out), but may not be the rewarding reveal readers were hoping for. Not that readers are so numerous as they were, but the good news is that we actually do get finality and closure, and are ready for some other story to begin now, please.
It was nice to see Ollie operate within a family context, and Dinah was willing to be his muscle on several occasions. Plastic Man and Batman are also in the issue, and Dodger (the British minor annoyance they picked up a few issues back) seems likely to stick around. But the real star of the issue is Dr. Sivana.
Winick plays this wily madman very amusingly, as he makes his escape with well-planned distractions to slow down the junior Justice League posse Ollie was likely to assemble in his quest for vengeance.
He gets better than that. Both sons are alive, if not unchanged by their experiences. I guess what’s been hardest to place about this series is its tone. Is it a fun, madcap comedy, as when most of the heroes and all of their villains make with the mid-battle Peter Parker-style quips? Or is it a serious drama, something Ollie’s been more likely to suffer through in recent years, with horrible events like torture and kidnappings of his loved ones?
The art (Mike Norton still doing a passable gloss on original series artist Cliff Chiang) leans one towards the former, but Winick can’t often avoid the pathos of the latter. So maybe the way to go is to pick one tone for one story, and wait to change it once the story is over. That would be more exciting than the frequent perplexing frustration of this first fitful year of the title.
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