"The Battle Within, Part Two: The Long Count"
Writer: Gail Simone
Artists: Joe Bennett (p), Jack Jadson (i)
Publisher: DC Comics
Plot: Dinah is able to bluff her way out of killing the captured police officer, and she and an undercover Wildcat are brought back under guard to the drug warlord's compound. Dinah then makes a desperate play to save the police officer's life, as she challenges one of the men to a one-on-one fight, but when Ted gets wind of what Dinah has done, he decides he's not going to sit on his hands while Dinah risks her life.
Comments: A very impressive issue, and I'm feeling a bit foolish regarding my review of the previous issue and all my fuss and bother about Wildcat's presence in this arc as this is easily the best Wildcat appearance that I've ever come across. I had a pretty good idea that Gail Simone had a good grasp on the Black Canary/Wildcat relationship when I watched the Justice League Unlimited episode that she wrote which centred around these two (plus Green Arrow), but truth be told this issue stands up as the prefect Wildcat comic. From the opening pages where Gail Simone is able to provide a near perfect summation of how a young Dinah first had her eyes opened to the fact that Ted was someone to be admired, to the closing pages where this opening narration is repeated in order to heighten the suspense, as well as sell readers on the idea that Wildcat is one damn cool character, Gail Simone deserves all the credit in the world for her work on this issue. My complaint that Wildcat took the spot of a more deserving female character is utter nonsense, as I honestly can't see any other character taking Wildcat's place in this adventure. Gail Simone isn't simply using him as a plug and paste guest-star but rather his relationship with Dinah is what drives her to take some rather reckless actions. I also have to give the writing credit for the clever way that Dinah is able to work her way out of the corner that she had been backed into at the end of the previous issue. Even better I enjoyed the fact that the villains weren't fooled for one moment, but rather they simply allowed her to believe that her act had been a resounding success. The writing also deserves my highest praise when it comes to selling the illusion that our heroes are involved in fights that they might not win. Wildcat's situation at the end of this issue has me on pins and needles.
Joe Bennett brings a highly polished style to these pages that this book really hasn't had since Butch Guice's departure. This certainly helps to enhance one's enjoyment of the material. The opening page convincingly sells the idea that Ted Grant was a very formidable force in the ring. This opening sequence is nicely mirrored later in the issue when the character lashes out at his captors, as the panel where he stopped the throwing stars that were sent flying in his direction is the very definition of a cool action hero moment. The Black Canary also gets a pretty impressive showcase in this issue, as she has her fight down on the beach, and the back and forth nature of the battle is well reflected by the art. The art also does some nice work on the scene where the Huntress makes a move to grab a piece of a criminal enterprise, as the art gives the character a nice femme fatale like quality, as she makes her offer to the skeptical mob boss.
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