With Black Manta hunting down The Others, collecting their Atlantean artifacts, it was only a matter of time til the group began to pull themselves back together. This issue brings Aquaman, Ya’Wara, and Prisoner of War together as they fend off Black Manta. Unfortunately, Manta proves himself to be too smart and too powerful to be caught, and instead escapes with Ya’Wara’s artifact. Elsewhere, Johns brings The Operative, another member of The Others, into the mix as he is hot on the trail of whoever is hunting down The Others. The reveal of who was under the Operative’s mask was both fascinating and shocking, which is always appreciative in this age of previews and spoilers. Though those two stories were filled with action, the emotional, character driven moments occurred in a small home off the coast, as Shin gave Mera Arthur’s back story. This series has been fairly slow when it comes to story development in the past, and though an extensive amount of information isn’t revealed in this issue, what is developed is done exceedingly well. In like fashion, the art in this book is absolutely gorgeous. The way the action is developed, motion is illustrated, and emotions are portrayed, is artistically fantastic. 4.5/5
With a new writer comes a new direction, as Greg Hurwitz joins the creative team as the new ongoing writer. The issue reintroduces the Scarecrow back into the streets of Gotham, and he’s deadlier than ever. The issue, though not perfect, is extremely well done in terms of both the story and the art. While Finch’s run as writer was an action packed, video game/action movie type story, this one was a little slower paced with a bit more focus on fleshing out the story. The scene focusing on Batman talking to the young girl was touching, the reversal in Gordon and Batman’s goodbye was amusing, and overall the character moments in the issue were well executed. David Finch’s art is just as strong as it has been, maybe even a tad bit more refined than in past issues. This was a promising start to Hurwitz’s run as writer on the series. 4/5
Coming straight out of that cliffhanger ending in issue #1, the obvious route would have been to continue straight from that point in this issue. However, Morrison takes a bold route and decides to use this issue to feature the life and troubles of Talia al Ghul, the mastermind behind Leviathan. From the point where she was just an idea in her father’s mind to the moment where Damian is introduced to Bruce, we see how her entire life has been manipulated and orchestrated by her father. The highlight of the issue comes near the end, when she essentially removes her father from the picture and tells him that she’s in charge. Morrison writes this issue so well that after witnessing everything Talia’s been through, you’re almost rooting for her; almost. Chris Burnham and Nathan Fairbairn illustrate a beautiful book once again, with their art being a beautiful compliment to Morrison’s story. 4.5/5
It’s common with comics these days to have a couple filler issues between story lines and major events, and in most cases they’re pointless. That has been far from the case with this issue. Reeling after their encounter with Harvest, the Teen Titans have found themselves separated on a mysterious island filled with animals long thought to be extinct. The exotic locale and mysterious nature of the island wasn’t the only thing that kept this issue interesting, though. Lobdell has continued to show that he has a tremendous tact for writing a team book, without half the cast being neglected. Bart’s kind, light nature was used to help heal Solstice, Bunker had his moment to shine as he knocked some sense into Red Robin, and even Superboy had his moment of growth. Granted, the most touching moment came at the end of the issue when an obscure, secondary character became much more than that. Bret Booth’s art shined as he was given a fantastic book filled with character moments, action, and awesome creatures to illustrate. 5/5
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