Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Paolo Pantalena & Travis Mercer
Inks: Paolo Pantalena & John Livesay
Colors: Arif Prianto
Letters: ALW’s Troy Peteri
Covers: Paolo Pantalena & Arif Prianto; Philip Tan & Elmer Santos
Editors: Ben Meares; Ben Abernathy
Publisher: DC Comics
One of the things I love about this book is the character work. Unfortunately, in a lot of the most recent runs of comics, characters are either behaving wildly out of character or really leaning into their worst traits with no actual explanation for why. I mean, we’re told why but everything we’ve seen onscreen, as it were, doesn’t back the explanations. It’s one of the laziest forms of writing in my opinion, followed quickly by spinning wheels and Status Quo is God. Here we get the opposite with revelations happening that make total sense based on what we’ve seen before while moving the plot forward in a way that works.
Case in point: Artemis as a nurse actually tracks for her, and explains quite a bit about her behavior towards Jason but especially towards Bizarro. Speaking of, Bizarro doesn’t get to do a lot in this issue other than being an actual brother to Jason – which is a gift in and of itself – but he does continue to be such a snark machine and I love it.
On to the story itself, after many miscommunications and assumptions the entire crew: Essence, Saru, Mistress, General Glory, and the Outlaws, all end up on a suicide mission in the Chamber of All. Why? Because the Untitled (or No-Names as Biz calls them) have not only gone underground and regained strength but they’ve made a deal with Trigon for even more power than they had before.
In other words: the end of the world is coming if this isn’t stopped in its tracks before it’s too late.
Lobdell gives us a nice set-up issue for the next chapter of Jason’s story that allows us to see Jason actually use his magical abilities, something we rarely get to see, and save a ton of people. It also lays the groundwork for future team-ups with General Glory, a character I was fully prepared to hate and yet, I kind of adore him? Something I truly wasn’t expecting.
Paola Pantalena & Travis Mercer give us some really gorgeous and subtle artwork throughout the issue. Between the way Mistress’ physical form looks like an older and wiser Artemis, basically how I imagined Artemis’ mom would look, and playing a game of ‘spot the eye’ in the book before the big reveal, the artistic team really came to play.
The issue ends with Jason and Biz making a run at the front door while everyone else tries to keep Trigon busy so Jason can do what he does best: Pull victory out of his arse. Will he be able too? I don’t know but I know that if they survive this Essence is going to have a lot of explaining to do and it’s not going to be pretty.
4. 5 Doorways out of 5
Note: Love that Mistress has a physical form and now wonder if Diana and Donna’s lassos have them too…