"Killing Machine (Part Two)"
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artists: Chris Sprouse (p), Karl Story (i), Randy Mayor (colors)
Publisher: DC Comics/Wildstorm
As I stated in my last monthís review of Midnighter #1, this series with Deathblow #1 had the best opening issues of the New Soft-reset Wildstorm Universe. It is a month down the line and there have been a few changes, at least on one front. Deathblow #2, although an acceptable enough read, left me scratching my head with a confused state eerily reflective of Olí Michael Crayís current condition. Still, as this is a Midnighter review, let me get back to the issue at hand (punny stuff!) and thankfully things havenít taken off at a tangent here.
I would say that this issue wasnít as explosive as the previous one, but that would only work in the figurative "in your face" sense and not the literal because on that, there are a whole lot of explosions, even if they occur over ninety years in the past, (ninety-one years and ten months to be exact). A simple mental calculation makes it clear that this time difference puts us slam-bang in the middle of World War One. It is here that Paulus sends Midnighter to do his part in a mission to kill a certain German, one who though a small fry in the First World War will go on to play an important part in the Second World War. (Yes, I realize that saying that Hitler played "an important part" in WW2 is a gross understatement.)
The whole time travel bit and what Midnighter does once he gets to Hitler is all fine and dandy, even the temporary about-turn he does by helping the Germans against the attacking French (to keep the "temporal distortions" to a minimum), but one thing that didnít quite sit with me was the rather clichťd reason behind the whole deal. For all his Bond-Villain routine, Paulusís rational for doing away with Hitler just doesnít work. After all, it's pretty clear that he isnít doing this from the goodness of his heart but rather something that I couldnít see even Magneto doing. Why not just go back in time and get your parents? That way he could avoid any major changes that could expand to include him too as also the way he had lived and progressed through life, including his getting rich and obtaining the means to pull this off in the first place. Ah, the oh-so-Trekkie "Time Paradox"! Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
As with the story, the artwork didnít seem as kicking as the first issue. This I attribute to the excessive inking/black coloring, both in the background and the characters. I understand that it is nighttime, and the darkness is to be expected. I even get that all this black is to illustrate overlapping shadows in which the Midnighter moves. What I donít get is how come even when he is like this the only shadow on the Midnighterís face is the from his mask (i.e. under his nose and around his eyes). On the plus side (and a very big plus at that), the action scenes are just as page popping as before, even if there werenít any missile kicking full-page flashes. In fact, there was just one such page and that too had the credits taking space on it.
Conclusion: In the end, it was the smallest thing that held me the most. At 02-13-1915 (13th February, 1915), the date to which Midnighter gets transported is exactly ninety-one years and ten months from the day that this issue came to the stands. Two mentions (in the story) and still the creators managed to match it to the exact release date, and release the issue on schedule. Nice.
You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at www.xcave.net
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