Writer: Bob Harris
Artists: Marcos Martin (p), Alvaro Lopez (i)
Publisher: DC Comics
Plot: As Zanetti rejects the mental influence of the Herdman who was working to restore his lost memories, he finds himself faced with an impossible situation as the Herdsman sends a pair of attackers after him that he recognizes as a pair of innocent children. However, these children reveal that they have no problem targeting innocent civilians, so our hero is forced to decide if he's willing to kill these children in order to save the lives of everyone they'll most definitely kill if left alone.
Comments: On one hand, it's nice to see this title being connected to the events currently playing out in the DCU. From a storytelling sense, Bob Harras earns full marks for coming up with a perfectly reasonable linking device that deftly explains why this book is connected to the Villains United miniseries. In fact, the opening pages of this issue effectively play with these two villains, as Bob Harras clearly understands that these two would quickly recognize the game that the other was playing. The writing nicely plays up the idea that while these two are in an alliance, they also recognize that it would be a disastrous mistake to assume that their partner wasn't still looking for the perfect spot to slide the knife into their back. In any event, moving on to the material that deals with our hero, this issue presents a pretty engaging conflict as our lead runs up against a rather impossible to deal with threat, as the Herdsmen send a pair of altered children after him and he becomes backed into a situation where he might have to kill these children in order to protect the public from their less than kind attentions. This in turn results in a great little moment where the character is forced to weigh each side of this situation. I rather enjoyed the fact that he was allowed to make a decision, and while the battle is called off before he's forced to follow through on his choice, the simple fact that the character was allowed to choose the path he planned on taking tells readers a great deal about the character. There's also a nice awkward little moment where our hero stands alongside his son, and he completely fails to connect the dots. The final page also presents a pretty exciting little cliff-hanger moment, and I'm a little surprised by how effective it was, considering this creature is little better than a glorified underling.
Marcos Martin turns in another fine looking issue, as this time out he's called upon to deliver almost an entire issue of non-stop action, and he does a very impressive job of delivering the more fantastic elements of the powers on display. The panel where the young woman's arm falls victim to the villain's deadly touch effectively sells the threat that these creatures pose. There's also several solid impact panels, from the opening bit where our hero rejects the memories being downloaded into his mind, to the scene where he is blasted back by the children that he refuses to fight. The art also does some impressive work on the facial expressions such as the delight that is etched on the faces of the children as they tear our hero apart is nicely conveyed, or the anguish of Zanetti as he decides how he's going to deal with this threat. The visual design of the creature that is unleashed on the final page also deserves the loin's share of the credit for why I find myself looking forward to the next issue, as it's truly a frightening looking creation.
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