Sunday, December 1, 2013

TEAM 7 #7

Team 7 went to the Advanced Prosthetic Research Center where Doctor Henshaw's pet project, Spartan turned everyone into robo-zombies.  Two members of the team were killed.  Henshaw was turned into a robo-zombie, as was his intern, Caitlin Fairchild, who also appeared to die, but will years later appear in Superboy, so I don't know what's up with that.  Also, team member James Bronson was transformed by Spartan into a superman-level metahuman called Majestic.

Team 7 #7: "Mission 2.2: Majestic" was plotted by series writer Justin Jordan, but scripted this time by Tony Bedard.  The first eight pages were drawn by Jesus Merino with the rest of the issue done by Pascal Alixe.  Ken Lashley drew the cover which sports a foldout in the style of all of DC's so-called WTF covers from the month of April 2013.  Here's what's stupid about the cover: the text on the front page reads "Pandora Against..." with the foldout page revealing "...The Rage of Majestic".  Aside from how misleading this tag is, they've completely screwed up the surprise element.  Any reader following the series ought to know that Majestic would be in this issue because that was the cliffhanger from last month.  The bigger shock is the fact that Pandora, whom we have never seen or heard anything about in this book, appears in this issue and is fighting Majestic.  See, whoever thought up this design for their WTF teaser... was stupid.

Let's proceed to find out what else is stupid about this comic.  C'mon, it'll be fun!

The issue opens up five years ago with Majestic invading the island nation of Gamorra, which we've been told is a bad place.  We've never really seen any evidence of that, but we keep being told that it's bad and that the leader of Gamorra is bad.  And they have Pandora's Box.  That's bad, I know, from Trinity War.  If you open Pandora's Box a bunch of dumb ideas come out that make me stop reading DC.

Way back in issue #0, we were told that James Bronson didn't have the meta-gene, but something else that made him special.  Well, whatever he had, the Spartan project activated it and turned him into a superhero.  And now he's a Superman-level military asset, flying around and blowing stuff up for Team 7.

According to John Lynch's narration, it's still five years before the current era in the comics, but obviously some time has passed, because Majestic has scared the crap out of America's enemies on a number of occasions.  Wait, though... According to the issue's title, this is still Team 7's second mission!  That doesn't make sense; their mission to the APRC shouldn't have even been the second mission, but speaking of that: what happened there?  What happened to Henshaw?  What happened to Caitlin Fairchild?  How did the team exfiltrate and stop all of the mindless robo-zombies that were killing their teammates?

Why does every book I review leave me pounding my head in frustration trying to figure out what's going on?


Team 7 follows Majestic to Gamorra because, whatever, they're invading an entire island.  Since the team's pilot died last issue, Lynch recruited Steve Trevor to fly them in their ridiculous looking ship.

While Gamorra's dictatorial ruler, Kaizen Gamorra, powers-up for battle with Majestic by siphoning off the powers or life-forces of some teenagers, Trevor pilots the team to the back of the royal palace or wherever.

First, Lynch says this was "the last time Team 7 operated as a unit", but again, according to the chapter title, this is only their second mission!

Second, Gamorra's army is called Basilisk, or made up of Basilisk soldiers, or Basilisk supplements Gamorra's army, or...something.  I remember that Basilisk is a terrorist organization like Cobra and Hydra, except with a different serpent name that wasn't already taken, but I don't remember if I knew that from this series or from Birds of Prey.  Nothing about either of these books leaves a lasting impression.

Third, Dinah is identified by her maiden surname "Drake", but last issue Cole Cash made an offhand remark that suggested she had already married Kurt Lance.  We know that she does take his name eventually, so is this an oversight on Lynch's part, or did Dinah not take his name yet, or are they not married yet, or did Tony Bedard not read/care about what happened in the last issue?  I kind of think all four possibilities are the right answer.

I've grown out of my adolescent craving for blood and gore in entertainment, but I confess to getting really excited when members of the team started getting shot.  I'm still crossing my fingers that everyone will die in the next two issues, even though I know that can't happen.

Of course, seeing her boyfriend/husband/man-toy wounded activates Dinah's super-human ability, her sonic scream, and in the next page we get an explanation that doesn't explain it.

So, according to Lynch, Dinah was born with the meta-gene, and the genetic technicians activated it during her medical checkups between missions.  But then, what was the trigger?  It seemed to come out of her because of stress or panic or some strong emotional reaction.  Why would the geneticists "switching her on" make something so random and uncontrollable the catalyst for something so deadly?  Also, why didn't Lynch tell her about it?  Why would he go into the field with a soldier who was capable of doing damage that hadn't been field tested or studied yet?  What a horrible goddamn operation he's running!  Lynch is a moron, and I hope he dies, even though I know he doesn't.

So then the team finds a group of precognitive children who show everyone a vision of the future that includes Majestic fighting Pandora, Slade Wilson looking like Deathstroke, Dinah looking like Black Canary, and Cole looking like, well, he always looks like Grifter, but yeah.  Lynch makes it sound pretty bad but I don't really get it from the art.

This is what will happen if Kaizen Gamorra opens up Pandora's Box.  Majestic don't like that none too much.

He flies up into space and then comes back down rocketing at super speed, crashing into the ocean next to Gamorra, creating a huge tidal wave that threatens to wipe out the entire island and everyone there, including Team 7.

The last page says, "To Be Concluded".  Somehow I doubt many of my issues will be resolved.

The Characters

  • Dinah Drake (or Lance?) has activated her superpower.  She was born with the meta-gene, so there wasn't some special thing that gave her the "Canary Cry", unless you count unseen, unknown scientists performing unseen, unknown procedures to activate the power... even though it seems like it was turned on because of her emotional state.
  • Slade Wilson doesn't do anything noteworthy.
  • Amanda Waller doesn't do anything noteworthy.
  • Cole Cash gets shot but otherwise doesn't do anything noteworthy.
  • Dean Higgins gets shot but otherwise doesn't do anything noteworthy.
  • Kurt Lance gets shot but otherwise doesn't do anything noteworthy.
  • John Lynch narrates the story and takes part in his first field operation that we've seen.  Still doesn't feel very noteworthy.
  • James Bronson/Majestic flies around destroying stuff that we never really see or care about until the end when he creates a deadly tsunami.  For a character this powerful, who was just activated in last issue's cliffhanger in such a traumatic fashion, I would be curious to know more about how he thinks and feels, but we never get any insight into his state.  He doesn't even speak in this issue.  He certainly doesn't display any "rage" as the cover text would suggest.


The first thing I noticed was that Tony Bedard wrote this issue over Justin Jordan's plot.  I haven't been very enthusiastic about Jordan's writing up to this point, so I was hoping for a stronger finish from Bedard.  Unfortunately, I had a whole new group of problems.  Clearly, this story had to rush to the finish because of its pending cancelation, but it does feel like we just skipped over two or three issues to get to this point.  It also feels like Bedard was brought in tell a particular story that the editors wanted told that hadn't been adequately set up by the previous seven issues.  There are a lot of splash pages and a lot of time spent with Kaizen Gamorra and the pre-cogs and Majestic and Steve Trevor, all characters that we've never spent any time with before, and the result is that we don't get much from the actual Team 7.  Is that because Bedard didn't feel comfortable with the characters, or he didn't care?

Issue #5 was framed by a meeting between present day Lynch and Slade.  We still haven't gone back to that situation.

This is the issue where Dinah finally experiences her sonic scream for the first time... but of course that doesn't make the big game-changing foldout cover image.

This book is dead and it knows it.

Grade: D

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