"Killing Machine, Part One"
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artists: Chris Sprouse (p), Karl Story (i)
Publisher: DC Comics/Wildstorm
This issue is an enigma to me. I really want to like it a lot, and in some spots I did, but something just falls a little flat. I just can't put my finger on it though. Perhaps I was expecting more or something a little different. What we get, while not bad, it's not what I was looking forward to reading. It felt a little too restrained in some respects.
Let me back up a bit here. Putting Garth Ennis on this title is sheer genius. If anyone can get the most out of the viciousness that is Midnighter, he can. And yes Ennis does show the reader what Midnighter is fully capable of doing and how methodical he is in doing it. I just don't think having Midnighter going against a squadron of tanks is the right way to go about it. Yes, he's literally built to be a killer, but even that is a bit too much "right out of the box." I personally feel Midnighter is far more fun to read when he's dealing with people and not people inside of a machine. That whole sequence really brought this issue down as far as I'm concerned.
The one thing I did like about this issue is Midnighter having to deal with adversity unlike he's ever had to deal with in the past. He's been kidnapped out of the Bleed, his ability to "see" the outcome of fights has been taken away from him, and he's been implanted with a bomb. He's also been given an ass kicking that he's never had before. All this in an attempt to keep him under control for the mysterious Mister Paulus' scheme to kill an important figure from the past. I'm eager to see how this all plays out. You know Midnighter is going to find a way out this situation, but how he's going to do it is going to be the fun part of it. For now though, he's trapped.
When it was first announced that Chris Sprouse and Karl Story were to be the artists of this title, I wasn't quite sure about it. I think they're highly talented artists, but I wasn't sure they were right for this particular title. I was wrong. While I won't say this is the greatest thing they've ever drawn, it's still gorgeous work. They definitely got Midnighter's look down pat as far as his sneer, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of them being able to cut loose more in terms of the fights and action, but not where tanks are concerned please.
The title has a lot going for it. It got off to a bit of a shaky start, but ended strongly and with a promise of more to come. Ennis, Sprouse and Story look to be heading in the right direction. Now they just need to cut loose a bit more. That is something I don't think we need to worry about; it will happen sooner rather than later. And I certainly don't want to be in Paulus' shoes when it happens.
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