Writer: Bob Harras
Artists: Marcos Martin (p), Alvaro Lopez (i)
Publisher: DC Comics
Plot: After leading a military squadron to the site where the Herdsmen are hidden, the Major decides to avoid the impending slaughter by claiming that he was wrong. Needless to say, this doesn't go over well, and only one member of the group is able to figure out that he had made this mistake in order to have lives. The Major then decides that he needs to deal with this problem alone, but the Herdsmen have been lying in wait for him.
Comments: I'm rather happy that this title is being released under the DC banner as I've gotten a look at this book's sale numbers, and if it was a Marvel title I expect this would have been its final issue. However, DC has the luxury of giving a title a little more time to finds its support, and from a storytelling sense this issue offers up every indication that the story is steadily improving as more information is brought to the table. In fact, the Herdsmen are quickly emerging as one of the more unsettling villains to emerge out of the DCU in quite some time. The DCU is full of alien races that emerged in the Silver Age and as such, they have a underlying "comics are for kids" silly vibe about them, so it's great to see these creatures are so uncompromising in their evil intentions. The issue also plays up the idea that our hero isn't exactly viewed as a hero, as one can't help but get the sense that he's in large part responsible for the emergence of the Herdsman. This issue all but comes out and states that his emergence has given these creatures the foot in the door that they needed to force their way into this reality. The secondary plot involving the Major's wife and son is also shaping up quite nicely as this issue gives the Major the first sign that the story he was told by his best friend wasn't the truth. And one has to suspect that he's going to start to question whether he's being played for a fool. The final pages of this issue moves the story up to the next level, as I was a little concerned that the Herdsmen were going to be little better than a looming threat in the background. This issue makes it quite clear, however, that they are going to be front and centre in the action, with the final page being a very powerful example of this idea. I also rather enjoy that Superman is sticking around, as his earlier guest-appearance did leave a lot of loose ends that I couldn't see the character simply walking away from.
Marcos Martin has a pretty solid grasp on all the fundamentals as the quiet sections of the issue benefit from a nice range of facial expressions, and the action sequences have a wonderful sense of energy about them. The art also presents key storytelling moments well, as the scene where the Herdsmen make contact with the Major could have been a confusing sequence, but that opening image coherently introduces the idea that not only are the Herdsmen there but they eagerly await the army that has gathered outside. There is also a nice action sequence to close the issue as the Major manages to escape from the facility, and there's a lovely visual where his body is twisted apart by the transportion process. Plus, the final image of the issue pretty much guaranteed my return for the next issue, as it's a delightfully shocking image, and I can't help but be curious to see the fallout from this attack. The cover image also nicely captures the big brother nature of the Herdsmen, as their presence looms over the Major.
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