"The Laws of Battle"
Writer: Bill Willingham
Artists: Tom Derenick (p), Wayne Faucher (i), Mike Ayiteh (colors)
Publisher: DC Comics
One would think that after last monthís rant, I would be hard pressed to come up with one for this monthís (yet another) artist change for this title. Well, yes and no. I donít have one, at least not one as long, but it is more due to my waning interest than anything else. As it stands now, this title has had four art teams in just seven issues. This time around the art is provided by Tom Derenick (pencils) and Wayne Faucher (inks). Thankfully enough, Mike Atiyeh (colors) is still continuing and as it stands now, after writer Bill Willingham, Atiyeh has the longest standing here.
Onto the story, and even that is starting to stagnate. In the first arc the heroes started by getting their behinds handed to them, realized that they werenít acting like a team, got together to do so, had one or more of their members captured, and in the end overcame multiple enemies. After the single-issue story about the Blue Devil, a new story starts here and so far, even though the bad guys are different, the plot development is pretty much the same. This is still less of a team and more of a group of magical beings hanging out together. Nightmaster, the team leader, is still lamenting that the team isnít a team and is trying to come up with ways and means to make it otherwise, all while neglecting his duty and responsibility in helping his teammates (as well as the general public).
As for the enemy, or rather the mercenaries that Doctor Gotham and his second, Strega, The Red Witch are sending after the Ďpacters, with each passing attack, the power, and more importantly, the number of lackeys is increasing. First was Blue Moon, then came the Wild Huntsman and his demonic hellhounds, and even though he changed both Ragman and Enchantress into a couple of his hell-pooches, they were "freed" easily enough. Nevertheless, continuing with the "more is more" routine, the third attacker (or attackers) is the Congregation, and yes, they number even more than the Hellhounds. What next? A whole planet of evil magical beings?
While Blue Devil, Ragman and Nightshade are facing off and losing (as expected), against the Congregates, and Nightmaster and Detective Chimp are coming up with ways for "team building," all while bickering with Eddie Deacon, the Enchantress is making a run for, well, a cauldron. What is does isnít revealed, yet.
On the plus side, even though there is an art change, it is for the better. Not only are Derenickís pencils more mature and expressive, they also have the flair required for such "magical" characters.
Conclusion: Great art, fast paced action and snappy character moments. Sadly, the mediocre and repetitive plots are getting to be a downer.
You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at www.xcave.net
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!