Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 20, 2019
Cover date: January 2020
“Who Are The Six?” – Part 4
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Penciller: David Marquez
Inker: David Marquez
Cover: David Marquez
Variant Cover: Oliver Coipel
Reviewed by: Keith Samra
An infected Blue Beetle has taken control of the Fortress of Solitude. The infected Gordon reveals five of the Secret Six, as Katana and Hawkman join him and Beetle, and they run amok at the Fortress, forcing both Superman and Batman to retreat further into the catacombs of the Fortress, and Superman revealing his plan to contain them, should they fail in overcoming their adversaries.
Superman sends out a signal for help, one that brings Supergirl to their aid, she single handedly prevents The Batman Who Laughs’ plan to infect Superman, as she catches the batarang featuring the deadly toxin thrown at him… Only she gets infected herself. Now with the Secret Six complete, BWL’s plan can advance into the next step, bringing his own Justice League satellite to our Earth and reality.
To be continued…
Story – 5: This book has now become one of my favorite reads at DC, and to think I volunteered to review it, because all our other reviewers for the Homepage were busy with other books. I struck gold with this title, and I hope that more and more readers will discover this for themselves.
Williamson has proven that he has a good handle on both Superman and Batman, as each issue is a masterful take on our two heroes, tied into a narrative that is intriguing and full of action at the same time. Having read the Dark Knights Metal series last year, I never would have thought anyone else other than Scott Snyder would be able to take plot points and characters from that story, and tell an equally (if not better) follow up tale. Williamson is doing what Pete Tomasi did after Grant Morrison, and that’s take his concepts as well as characters and explore them further and tell better stories along the way. Tomasi made me like Damian as a character, and Williamson is doing the same with TBWL.
Hands down the best scene/part of this issue was when Superman reaches out to Jamie Reyes, as he fights to take control of the infected Scarab, and the way he appeals to his humanity. This is the epitome of Superman as a character, and this is how I love him being written. Again, Williamson has such a good handle on the character, I’d love to read his take on him in one of his regular books one day.
Now it is no secret that I am not the biggest fan of Kara/Supergirl, but I really loved the way she was utilized in this issue, and she was written in such a way, that she wasn’t annoying or headstrong, but rather a concerned family member and teammate. Williamson I feel telegraphed the fact that Supergirl would be the one that takes Superman’s spot as a member of the Secret Six, but still wrote it well enough that it didn’t matter if you saw it coming. On a side note, Shazam’s dialogue I thought gave him personality, the way he talks may make him seem like he’s trying too hard to be cool, but somehow feels right for a character like Billy Batson.
Lastly I wanted to touch on the point that Superman could hear BWL talking to him from a world away, and though I find it annoying at times when writers amp up Superman’s powers to an infinite level, it was used in a way that served the story well, which is further evidence that Williamson would be a magnificent writer on a solo Superman book. I can’t wait for the next issue, great work.
Art – 5: David Marquez improves with each issue. I feel that he has finally gotten a comfortable feel for Superman’s face, and has settled on his definitive look for him. Though a friend mentioned that he drew him with too much torso in the last issue, making him look lanky, I still like the way he draws him, and when in action, he looks great, it was a minor nit-pick at best.
I’ve really been enjoying his take on the infected heroes, and this issue, we got to see the entire secret 6. Each infected character had traits that made them look unique amongst the rest. For example, we had already seen Shazam, but Hawkman contrasts with him in a more barbaric way, whilst still looking like his classic self. We also got to see a lot more emotion out of Gordon, while his Blue Beetle portrayed real anguish when Jamie started to take control. I loved that scene where Superman confronts him, in the most earnest way, telling Jamie he is not a weapon, and trying to relate to him and his power level, lots of emotion portrayed through body language.
Marquez take on Supergirl was also a joy to see, as many artists don’t do her justice. I loved the emotion in her face as she comes to the realization that she has also just been infected, and then we get to see her Joker-ized look, and she has such a regal elegance to her. That last page is awesome, and liked the fact that Gordon was donning a Court of Owls mask.
Marquez is fast becoming a favorite artist of mine in DC’s employ. I hope he stays on this title for a while, and then moves over to a Superman book, or even a teen book, as I feel he will excel with any of these characters… But love to see more exclusive Superman work.
As always, Alejandro Sanchez colors set the tone for this series, and they have an eerie mood to them, almost a half horror half superhero type of feel. I must stress, that this is a very hard thing to accomplish with just colors. A great looking issue, honestly the art alone is worth the cover price.
Cover Art – 4: We have yet to see the infected Robins, but I liked this cover featuring them with BWL holding their leashes.
Variant Cover Art – 5: I love this cover by Oliver Coipel, an amazing painted style coupled with very realistic proportion. I really like the way he has positioned Superman’s body, with Batman behind him.
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