[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writers: Jai Nitz and Vita Ayala
Artists: Cliff Richards and Matt Merhoff
Inkers: Hi-Fi and Beth Sotelo
It turns out there is a Mexican version of the Justice League, and they do not take kindly to super villain groups warring on the border of their country. Seems kind of rude of them. Super villainy has no boundaries, that is why they are villains. There is literally a Mexican stand-off.
In the backstory, we find everyone’s most cuddly government pal, Amanda Waller, has a federal agent in her care. He is in a drug-induced coma. He has information that is vital to the team’s current mission. She defies the odds and gets him out of his coma, but fails at getting the information. Shockingly, that is bad news for the team.
Cliff Richards’ art in the El Diablo story is excellent. There are a lot of moving parts and I am always impressed when an artist makes a story with 15 speaking characters work. It is one thing to have people in background running through the panel, it is something else to have those people interact with the main character in a meaningful way. Comic book art is unique in this manner. Writers can simply describe what someone looks like. It is up to the reader to determine how that comes together. Film directors can cast the people they want to portray characters and they can rely on professional actors to bring those characters to life. In this medium, it all comes down to how one person does all of that. There is no imagination needed for the reader. There is not an actor making the character scowl or smile or look scared. Everything is in the hands of this person. Sure, the inker is there to lend and hand and Richards has one of the best in the business in Hi-Fi; but the lion’s share of the work is on the shoulders and in the hands of the artist. Richards is the hero in this book full of villains.
The second story is excellent because Amanda Waller is an excellent character. She is so complex. She sees the difference between good and evil. In her mind, good and evil are clear cut. She is willing to do anything to do good even it means being evil. Waller embodies a large swath of the American public. There are so many people who, given the opportunity and resources, would do exactly what Waller does. I am not one of those people. If Amanda Waller were a real person, I would loathe her. However, Amanda Waller is not a real person and so, I love her. I love her for being real. I love her for being a monster. I love her for shining the light on the darkness that is in the souls of so many.
The main story, that is thankfully one issue away from being done, is not good. I want it to be good, but at this point, I do not really care. If El Diablo ends up back on the team, fine. If he dies, fine. If he runs off to Mexico and has a happy life, fine. The reason for heaping the praise on Richards is because he is doing Yeoman’s work. There is just too much going on with characters I do not really care about. Jai Nitz created this version of El Diablo, so he cares what happens to Santana. I want to care, I just think there is too much going on here.
The back stories in this series have really kept the book afloat. I hope that issue six gives me some resolution for Chato. He seems like a good guy. That last page of the second story is kind of amazing. I am really looking forward to see how that concludes.