Writer: Scott Beatty
Artists: Butch Guice (p), Micheal Perkins (i)
Publisher: CrossGen Comics
As Emma fights for her life against Miranda Cross, in a battle that sees her unleashing her hidden powers, we see Simon & his group of fellow adventurers are making very slow progress to the underground chamber where this battle is set.
I'm not sure why Scott Beatty seems to be so fond of delivering stories where Simon & Emma are essentially separated from each other, as the back & forth banter between these two characters was this book's most endearing quality before Scott Beatty arrived. Now perhaps he doesn't feel all that confident about his ability to deliver amusing exchanges, so he's avoiding the situation by continually separating the two characters, or perhaps he feels the characters need to spend a little time apart to show us that they are viable solo characters. Whatever the case may be I would prefer to see the two back together. Plus, while I'm always game for a grandiose action/adventure that this latest arc has offered up, I'd prefer a story that actually allows Simon deductive skills to play a larger role in events.
Also, Emma's powers are really not something I'd like to see playing an active role in this book, as they act to remove the character from her role as the long suffering, under-appreciated sidekick, which in turn allows the writing to produce its amusing exchanges, where Emma tries to get credit she's due for her contributions. As for the art, Butch Guice is right at home delivering the exotic local where this story is set, with his establishing shot of the underground city being the highlight of the issue. The transformation of Miranda's underling was also rather impressive.
I like Emma, and I'm glad to see Scott Beatty appears to as well, as since he's taken over the book Simon has become more of a background player, while Emma has taken center stage. Now the interaction that Emma had with Simon was one of the more engaging elements that this book had going for it, and Scott Beatty seems bound & determined to deliver stories where this interaction is virtually nonexistent, which is highly disappointing. He's also taken to delivering more grandiose adventures that don't really require much thought or investigative work, which is also a bit worrisome. However, the book does offered up action that seems to take better advantage of Butch Guice's talents, and to a certain extent it is nice to see this book display it can have a wider range that the simple investigation of mysteries. I'd be lying if I said I was enjoying this book as much as I had been under Mark Waid's guidance though.
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