Writers: Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka and Judd Winick
Artists: Rags Morales, Ed Benes, Jesus Saiz, Ivan Reis and Phil Jimenez (p), Michael Bair, Ed Benes, Jim Palmiotti, Marc Campos and Andy Lanning (i)
Publisher: DC Comics
Plot: As the Blue Beetle finds his high-tech firm has been targeted by an outside party, his investigation opens his eyes to the existence of a vast conspiracy. Unfortunately, his efforts to warn the others about this looming crisis fall on largely deaf ears, as Ted is disappointed to discover that he doesn't have much creditability in the super-hero community. However, when Booster Gold is nearly killed in an attack that was meant for him, and he starts to get the sense that he has a big target on his back, Ted is able to trace back these attacks to their source, where he makes a shocking discovery, but he pays a pretty steep price for this knowledge.
Comments: Truth be told, I'm not as angry as I expected to be as I've had several months to prepare myself for that final page, and the minute that I read in Wizard that this character was slated to play an important role in the upcoming summer event I pretty much knew what the role was going to be. If nothing else, DC has become pretty predictable in its delivery of shocking developments. In fact, there's a scene in this issue that pretty much plays out like that tired old scene in a war movie when a solider shows fellow solider a picture of his wife and child back home. That pretty much prepared me for that final page. Part of me is also comforted by the fact that I remember a interview with one of the DC higher ups about a month back that detailed the basic plot of "Infinite Crisis," that gives me a pretty good idea that this final page development is going to serve as the catalyst event that lights a fire under a particular character, and I fully expect that the end goal of this character is going to reverse this final page development. As it stands, I was quite happy with most of this issue, as this is the most attention this character has received in years, and it's nice to see that the writers have decided to respect the character's abilities. In fact, my only real problem with this issue is that it goes a little too far in its bid to sell readers on the idea that the rest of the DCU super-hero community would be so dismissive of this character, with the scene with J'Onn being a particularly irksome one, as it shows a poor understanding of the relationship that these two characters share. The attempts to insert a couple of the miniseries into this plot felt rather contrived as well, and one is almost left with the sense that the only reason they are linked to this summer event is to inflate the sales of these miniseries. I also have a better understanding of rabid Hal Jordan/Scarlet Witch fans, as I was quite disillusioned by the big reveal when it came to the big, bad villain, as they've taken a great character and turned him into a cookie-cutter villain, with a half-baked motivation for his villainous actions.
I am though quite impressed by how seamlessly this issue fits together given each chapter was worked on by a completely different creative team. For the most part the issue holds together quite nicely as all the artists involved bring a highly detailed style to the book that serve to deliver a very polished looking product. Now if one takes the time to take a closer look at the art, the different styles are pretty easy to spot, but the only chapter that stood apart from the crowd was Ed Benes. Even his efforts though managed to hold up quite nicely, as he delivers a pretty impressive looking Superman, and the battle with the Madmen had a nice sense of energy to it. I also quite enjoyed Phil Jimenez's work on the final chapter, as there's a wonderful sense of urgency as a desperate Ted makes his heroic last stand, and I can't deny the visual impact of that final page. Jesus Saiz's efforts on the third chapter really caught my attention as of the five creative teams he was the one artist I wasn't familiar with, but his clean work left me quite impressed.
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