Sunday, October 27, 2013

TEAM 7 #2

Team 7 was sent on a mission to a floating super-maximum security prison called--I'm not kidding--The Float.  The prison's communications went down, so the team didn't know what to expect when they arrived.  What they found was a whole prison full of zombified people apparently possessed by Eclipso.

Team 7 #2 is written by Justin Jordan.  Once again, Ron Frenz provides art breakdowns, but this time the pencils are done by Julius Gopez.  Scott Hanna is the only inker this time, though, so that's a plus.  Having so much artistic change in just the first three issues is rarely a good sign for a series, often suggesting a book that wasn't given enough time to gestate before hitting the shelves, and usually precluding an early cancellation.

Sounds right.

It's nice that Dinah Drake gets a spotlight on the cover.  I was more even more impressed to discover that Dinah narrates this issue in the form of her mission journal, taking over from last issue's narrator John Lynch.  Unfortunately, her narration is limited to telling us information about character relationships and explaining plot points already covered by dialogue and action.  Really, her narrative captions could have been taken out of this issue and it wouldn't have made a difference.

This issue picks up with a horde of Eclipso-ed zombie prisoners attacking Team 7, who effortlessly and emotionally mow them down with automatic weapons fire.  We also see the continuation of last issue's problem with the title.  This issue, I guess, is Team 7 #2: "The Black Diamond Probability: Mission 1.2: Lockdown".

Okay, I think "Black Diamond Probability" is the name of the first story arc... and so is "Mission 1".  Like instead of calling it a book or a chapter or a part, they're calling it a mission.  That makes a kind of sense.  But then I think the Mission 1 (or Mission 1.2 in this case) ought to be placed above "The Black Diamond Probability" part.  I shouldn't have to think so hard about the issue's title, which means somebody somewhere associated with the production of this comic is dumb.

Anyway, the Team makes repeated mention of the fact that they don't have enough ammunition to take down all of the zombified prisoners, which seems like horrible planning to me if you're assaulting a prison full of supercriminals.  Bad on you, Dean Higgins.

The team fights their way to the comm center where Dinah discovers video records of a scientist named Alex Montez experimenting on the terrorist that Amanda Waller captured back in issue #0.  Said terrorist is injected with some kind of formula that's supposed to make him docile and cooperative but instead turns him into an Eclipso monster.  That process somehow spreads to the rest of the prison, though there isn't footage of that process and we're never told how, so I'm thinking Justin Jordan forgot or couldn't think of a reason why that would happen.

Then, inexplicably, in the middle of the issue, there is this whole plot point about the main Eclipso-zombie terrorist guy being from the nation of Gamorra, which is on the United States' Bad Nations that Harbor Bad People and Do Bad Things List.  Well, the Float has been redirected to take Eclipso to Gamorra, where presumably the bad guys will get more powerful.  Dinah's narration doesn't make any sense in this section and I'm pretty sure there is a typo or missing words.

In truth, it doesn't really matter, because by the end of the issue we learn that The Float wasn't going to Gamorra, but another obscure location, so about two pages of dialogue in this issue are utterly pointless.

Before that, however, we have some action and destruction.

If you followed those pages, you'll note that the terrorist Eclipso guy was defeated by a special light.  But that's not the end of Eclipso in this book... I guess...?  He'll be back next issue... I guess...?

The Characters

  • Dinah Drake "narrates" this issue, but all we learn about her is that she knows Kurt Lance.
  • Kurt Lance, likewise, knows Dinah.
  • Slade Wilson knows Alex Fairchild.
  • Alex Fairchild knows Slade Wilson.  Fairchild is a smart-ass.  Also, if any member of Team 7 was going to be gay, according to Dinah, it's Fairchild.
  • Cole Cash is still on the team.
  • James Bronson enjoys his "heavy suit" even though he doesn't know how every part of it works.  That seems very irresponsible for a top tier military unit.
  • Amanda Waller is still skinny.
  • Dean Higgins is white.  Issue #0 really made it look like he was black.
  • John Lynch and Summer Ramos do not appear in this issue, though it sounds like Ramos is still alive.

The plot of this issue is overly-complicated.  Nothing comes of the Gamorra connection; it feels more like Jordan wanted to show that he'd read Warren Ellis' Stormwatch, but too much time was spent dwelling on it to not do anything with it.

As with last issue, the attempts at humor are borrowed from movies and not that funny.  Almost every character is a sardonic wise-ass, which means nobody actually stands out or seems unique.  It's not easy giving equal characterization to a cast as large as this one every issue, but here we get none.

Also, something really bothers me.  The comic begins with a reference to the classic movie moment from The Warriors.

Changing the word "warriors" to "heroes" is clever.  Or it would be if it made sense, but it doesn't.  Throughout the issue, the Eclipso-ed zombie prisoners call Team 7 heroes.

But they're only heroes to us the reader, not within the comic.  They're a black ops military unit full of assassins.  This feels like Justin Jordan allowed the outside reality of the comic to impose on the story he was telling.  That's not meta.  That's bad storytelling.

Grade: D

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