Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Team Seven #0 review

It's the DC Universe of five years ago. World governments are noting the emergence of superheroes and villains, and have identified the metagene that means more are coming. Believing a superhuman arms race has begun, they put together Team Seven from a motley bunch of agents and outsiders.

This debut issue quickly finds a formula and sticks to it - husband and wife operatives Dinah Drake and Kurt Lance pop up around the world and recruit specialists. They include Slade Wilson, the future Deathstroke; Cole Cash, wearing his head hankie years before he apparently first dons it in Grifter #1; and Amanda Waller, not yet heading up the Suicide Squad. There's also weapons expert Alex Fairchild, whose daughter Caitlin has shown up in Superboy; pilot Summer Ramos; intelligence expert Dean Higgins; and James Bronson, a 'blue flamer' - I believe that means he lights his farts.

I make that nine, so presumably two of this lot are getting killed. Then again, the government calls them Team Seven, so perhaps they're messing with my head. There are just seven folk on the cover, though. Which two are missing, I couldn't say, war-suits being rather non-conducive to facial recognition.

I like the Mr and Mrs Smith vibe Dinah and Kurt have going in Justin Jordan's pacy script, and the idea that the US government is taking action to ensure superhumans don't destabilise the world. Team Seven is part of a larger project known as Majestic, which is intriguing, and there's a mysterious reference to someone called Steel Soldier. Plus, the good old Gen factor is mentioned by some guy who's apparently inflating pillows with a bong.

But while black ops types make a certain sense, I'm not a huge fan of grimacing people with big guns - something I probably should have expected, given that this is a new version of a Wildstorm concept. And I hate Deathstroke in any incarnation. Still, I'll likely give the first couple of issues a go, see how the cast interact and what type of missions they take on.

But I do hope the editing gets tighter. The plural of military policemen is not 'MP's', and lines such as 'You're already the top of all your peers' have me wanting to turn this comic into cat litter.

Penciller Jesus Merino's storytelling is rather good, his dynamic illustrations making the script easy to follow. He's great at the hi-tech weaponry and crafts, and his people are nicely varied (though I had problems recognising Amanda Waller as a woman in her first panels, and he's too obviously a fan of women's bottoms). The inking is shared by Norm Rapmund and Rob Hunter, and while you can see a difference in finish, it's subtle, and overall the pages look good.

The cover by Ken Lashley, coloured by Nathan Eyring, shows that too many people in battle armour with guns can make for a messy page. To be fair, Lashley is hobbled by the DC zero month layout.

So, not the best debut ever, but I won't write this book off just yet. Jordan is an unknown quantity, and I'm a fan of Merino; now the introductions are out of the way, they may just dazzle us.

18 comments:

  1. I noticed the nine member thing as well, but maybe there is something to that. Maybe they have 9 members, but only 7 of them do the heavy lifting or they alternate on which members go out on certian missions. It could be anything so far.

    I enjoyed it personally. Simple plot to be sure, but it showed off every member well and introduced what kind of action we'll be use to. Also, the potential for this comic can be possibly pretty high if Justin Jordan can get down the team dynamics well and have very interesting missions dealing with other parts of the new universe in the past.

    I ordered this comic on the spur of the moment and I'm glad I did. This was rather enjoyable and I am interested in seeing how this goes. I'm giving it the first arc to impress me.

    One last thing, is it just me or does this artwork give you a 90's vibe?

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    1. A problem I have with this book is that it's set in the past and using people we know are still around in the present, for the most part. So we can guess that at some point Slade loses an eye, Dinah gains powers and gets put in the frame for Kurt's apparent death, and some of the lesser-known characters died. This probably shouldn't matter, the stories should be allowed to stand on their own merits, but DC and Marvel have trained me to think that the most interesting stories are those happening NOW.

      Then again, I'd sell my granny for a proper Superboy comic giving us the adventures of Superman when he was a boy.

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  2. I believe that the "Steel Soldier" reference is actually about John Corben after he donned the armor and was mentally taken over by Braniac in Action Comics. That is what the image looks like and, after looking back at my Action Comics issues, I see that the suit was actually called "Project Steel Soldier."

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  3. if you like jordan's work here mart try shadowman from valiant this november, the artist and co plotter is patrick zircher

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    1. I've heard of Shadowman, years ago, but know nowt about him. Leave it with me ...

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    2. there are interviews on comic book resources and other site that should tell more

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  4. Sight unseen, I would assume Majestic relates to this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Majestic_Documents

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    1. Interesting, ta Michael. The thing that crossed my mind was Mr Majestic, but I don't know his old background at all.

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  5. I am reliably informed by an old Wildstorm fan that "Seven" referred to it being the seventh team (like Babylon 5), not a team of seven people. If they didn't say this in the comic itself, I would predict they are building up to that being a big "surprise" plot point in a future issue. Which could actually be pretty clever.

    I can't see myself buying this, though, even knowing that.

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    1. Sorry, I perhaps shouldn't have posted that, as it's potentially a spoiler...

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    2. Cheers David, I read a Wiki on Team 7 awhile back, and learnt about the name derivation. I was thinking that maybe things had changed with the Flashpoint business.

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  6. Martin, thanks for reviewing this, as I had not heard of it and now plan on buying it. I really like comics about human, non-powered teams organized to use special ops skills and tech to fight super-powered characters. It speaks to the human spirit to think humans could, via planning and effort, do that (I guess that's why I've always liked Luthor, or the guy with the horn rimmed glasses in Heroes, or Team Achilles).

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    1. I know what you're saying, but more often than not these Checkmate types have so much advanced tech that they're almost superheroes themselves. I'd love to see a lo-tech Team 7.

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    2. Martin, picked this up the other day after reading the review and read it this morning. Apart from the very overdone "our special ops guys are XTREME, LOOSE CANNONS and HAVE ATTITUDE with EXTRA QUIPS" stuff (the extreme rock climber and Cole Cash downin' his beer after standing tall around a half dozen barroom baddies he's knocked out), I like this issue. I don't care much that so many of them are of course already slated to be capes (there's already 51 series devoted to capes), but it has potential, perhaps it can be what the awful Blackhawks last year never was... Thanks again for flagging this one!

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  7. While military and Wildstorm titles have never been my thing; I'm intrigued by this "flashback concept" seeing the connected past of Dinah, Amanda, Slade, Cole etc. Possibly Bronson becomes Mr Majestic?

    Also of note: Steve Trevor was mentioned in advance publicity, but is not in the issue. Either he'll be added in upcoming issues, or plans have changed (when did he become the JLA liaison?) Or will be behind the scenes, coordinating info?

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    1. Good point on the missing Trevor, Drew. My guess is that he was pulled after Geoff Johns decided to use him in the upcoming JLA book. He's been JL liaison since the start of the book, though I don't know how long he's had the job in the world of the comic.

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  8. Well, the Team 7 name (as the seventh team) explains why the cloned versions of them were called DV8, anyway.

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