I thought that the cover was especially appropriate - Maxwell Lord positioning pieces on a chessboard. On one side - our heroes from the story (minus Booster, plus The Blue Beetle). On the other, some of the folks that didn't believe them - Guy Gardner, Wonder Woman, and Batman.
A few of the discrepancies as far as character drawing is concerned still exist. Ice just sort of looks a little pudgy, Fire's shirt still has that low cut to it. I mean, I'm totally aware of how they've been drawn in the past, but can't we look into the book that the cover is for and see how they're being drawn currently?
Regardless, I like this cover MUCH better than last week's, if only for the fact that there's no "Jim Carrey as Booster Gold" on it. Max's bloody nose as he's controlling his pieces foreshadows the trickery he'll employ upon Captain Atom later in the issue. The opposing pieces indicate the friction between the characters who know and those who don't.
I was also excited at first glance to see the Blue Beetle on there - I was hoping they'd bring him in on this.
I've seen the alternate cover and I like that quite a bit; it reminds me of the zero issue of "Blackest Night." Nonetheless, it highlights each hero in their own element.
The Story So Far
This is really sort of an aftermath/position-the-pieces sort of story. As a fan of LOST, I sort of know how those go. It was pretty appropriate for where we were.
Essentially everyone that the four are close to don't believe that Max Lord ever existed. Some think that they're outright crazy, or as our friend Booster said, "cheese and crackers." No matter what evidence they see of Max Lord, something mentally blocks the truth and replaces it with another fact. Lex Luthor hijacked Brother Eye. Bruce Wayne reformed the Justice League. And, most shockingly, Ted Kord killed himself.
I have to think that the last one was an especially deliberate move on Lord's part. It was a clear shot at Booster Gold; his loyalty for Ted goes a long way and Max had to know how he'd react. That the entire superhero community would believe that Ted truly committed suicide is something that any friend could not stand for. I'm continue to be touched a little by Booster's feelings for his old friend.
Captain Atom intends to check in with his superiors and give a full report as to what has occurred - and then Max gets him. That's the interesting thing about Max. He doesn't really need to be anywhere near you to attack you. Captain Atom thought he saw Max - it was really an illusion - and attacked him. In actuality, he was attacking his superior officer.
Back at HQ, the heroes discuss these recent events. Fire has been dismissed from Checkmate. Ice doesn't want in anymore. Booster is angry about the world's perception of Ted. Finaly, Fire flies off on her own - I can't help but wonder how many times the characters will branch off from the group in this - and the rest go in search of a unique signal picked up by Skeets. What do they find? Jamie Reyes under attack by a bunch of OMACS!
Dun dun dunnnnnnn!
So what have we learned? Well, earlier in this issue, Skeets theorizes that their exclusion was simply because they were in the eye of the storm, so to speak. I favor this theory, too, if only because I can't imagine one single logical reason why he would intentionally allow four individuals to retain their memories when he's gone to so much trouble to make EVERYONE forget.
What was good
- I enjoyed the page of reactions to our quartet's questions about Max, asking them if they hadn't gone crazy. Especially PG's "Did Booster put you up to this?"
- The interlude with Captain Atom really drove home the fact of how dangerous Max truly is. He can really screw with you when he wants to, and he doesn't need to be anywhere nearby.
- OMACs! Blue Beetle!
- Another solid cliffhanger! I think that BB is the one who is most likely to believe any of them. He knows that Booster has time travel experience and therefore some wild true stories; also, if it wasn't for Booster he wouldn't even have the scarab...
- Skeets did his best to be a unifying force for the team. I like that.
What was "ehhhhhh..."
- I'm not sure why we need to clearly see Fire and Ice's nipples under their costumes. Don't get me wrong, I REALLY like boobs. A LOT. Still, It's a little over the top. Are these two always cold or something? I mean, Fire is already practically naked in her fire form. Again, just a little over the top, that's all I'm saying.
- This issue was either about sitting and talking or sudden action. While this does allow the reader to deflate from the last a little, I found it a little disjointed.
- Are we going to see Max's new attempt at his old goal, or is there a new driving force in his pursuits?
- Why are there OMACS - has Max rehabilitated Brother Eye, or found a backup system, or... what? Leftovers? I thought they were all gone...
-Why just discredit the fearsome foursome? If he could make EVERYONE forget, why can't he just make four people forget now, after the fact?
- How big a role will Blue Beetle have? As I said, I think he is the most likely to believe any of them about Max Lord, especially due to his relationship with Booster. The negative part of that is that other heroes are probably not as likely to believe Jamie. Again, especially due to his relationship with Booster.
Another solid issue, I thought. I'd appreciate something more fast paced for the next one, but I also recognize the need to slow down for an issue in order to keep the pacing of the series where it needs to be.