It's the villains whom Pandora seeks out in the second issue of DC's Trinity War spin-off. Last time she told us that only someone truly pure - or dark - of heart could lift her curse, the presence of the Seven Deadly Sins in the world. She'd assumed Superman would be her best bet, as a truly good person, but seemingly not, and ten-second-hero Dr Light paid the price. So she tries Option 2, fellow immortal Savage, who has to be the darkest of the dark, surely?
But before she can offer Savage the box, the villains attack her, bringing brutal bouts between Pandora and Giganta, and Pandora and Savage. And Signalman? Not so much - he stands on the sidelines, gathering information and relaying it back to Secret Society Command. A lot of blood is spilled, but to little avail - by the end of the issue, Pandora's Plan B is a bust.
Ryan Sook's stunning cover sets the tone for this issue, with Pandora waving blood-drenched blades at us. And she's not simply about knives, with the splash page showing her new arsenal, courtesy of the armourer Marcus: guns, grenades, spiked gloves ... more interestingly, there's a magic mirror and the odd grumpy lizard. All she uses in the story, though, are her regular pistols and knives which, while effective, don't sit well with my idea of a hero.
But then, perhaps Pandora isn't meant to be taken as such; certainly she doesn't care who gets hurt in her pursuit of Paradise, asserting that none of it matters, 'we will be made anew'. Which is just as well, given the amount of bone splitting we hear about, courtesy of Signalman and his gadgets.
Vandal Savage and Giganta are their familiar selves - he oozing menace, she a fiery brawler - and it's good to see them both. Giganta provides my favourite moment, as she 'introduces' herself to Pandora rather forcefully.
The federal agents are a lot more to my taste, with the chemistry between interdepartmental rivals Kincaid and Chang pushing the story forward in an amusing manner. Writer Ray Fawkes is obviously having fun with them and I could see them filling the DCU role once taken by Agent Cameron Chase, before she was retooled for the New 52 as a right old cow.
Speaking of drawing, aubergine boobs apart, penciller Daniel Sampere and inker Vicente Cifuentes do a terrific job of giving the characters presence - even bit part player Marcus has charisma - and staging the action. The storytelling is as clear as you could wish, the fight choreography convinces and they make the big beats count. There's typically good colourwork from Hi-Fi, and Dezi Sienty ensures the packed script doesn't overwhelm the art.
While last issue was a useful Pandora primer, I enjoyed this one a lot more because it feels we're properly into the story. If anything made the issue, it was the characterisation and visuals of the villains, making me miss the old Secret Six series even more. Who knows, after the upcoming Necessary Evil storyline, we may even get a new one.