Part 3 of “Force Quest” has Barry Allen and Iris West in Corto Maltese trying to speak to a new Strength Force user, Fuerza. Unfortunately, she’s in the middle of a battle with the police. When Barry helps her, she allows him to follow her to her headquarters, and agrees to tell him what she knows about the Strength Force, which came to her a few weeks earlier. Meanwhile, in Africa, the twin villains Gemini are on a new mission that will intersect with Flash later, and in Central City, Flash’s fill-in, the future Captain Cold, is being played by another of Flash’s Rogues Gallery. The heart of this issue is corruption, as we learn Corto Maltese’s police chief is not only on the take, he’s getting heavy weapons to use against his people as well as superheroes from someone involved with the Sage Force. The one he uses on Fuerza and Flash is most unusual.
Not loving this storyline, but it’s reasonably entertaining. Recommended.
I decided to give this a try. The entire miniseries is already out, but I hadn’t looked at it yet.
I love Kelley Jones’ art, but I have to say it works best for me on characters that are already exaggerated caricatures of humanity. The villains, for instance. On Batman himself, Kelley’s distorted anatomy is sometimes distracting, but his art is full of love for the characters and the medium, and surely that’s a good thing. And how can you not love all the insane details?
Batman begins by taking down The Joker, whose dialogue by Scott Peterson is amusing and insightful. When Batman returns Joker to Arkham Asylum, he’s berated by a doctor there despite the fact that he’s helping. Suddenly the entire Batman roster of crazed villains are out of their cells, and Batman must take them on single-handed. I suspect Kelley Jones asked for that!
All this seems to be a prelude to the real threat, The Scarecrow, who has also escaped Arkham and whose fear toxins take Batman by surprise. The plot thickens.
First, it seems to me that the cover art for issues 58 and 59 were switched. This one would have worked perfectly for issue 58, that issue’s cover for this one.
Gorilla Grodd and his secret African home of intelligent apes, Gorilla City were always fascinating to me as a child. Grodd is not here, but the issue takes place mostly in a devastated Gorilla City. Flash and Iris have arrived to find it mostly empty and spotted with gorilla corpses. A few scientists remain underground, and there they show Flash a hologram record from their former leader Solovar, now deceased, that begins to explain more about the four Forces Barry Allen and Iris West are trying to understand. Back in Central City, a future version of Captain Cold is holding the fort against super-villain Razer while helping them out with data location. I could wish for more gorilla adventures, but next Flash and Iris are off to investigate a new emergence of the Strength Force in Corto Maltese. Last issue’s villains, Gemini, are in Gorilla City, too, making things worse for the few survivors.
This is the fourth version of the collected first twelve issues of PROMETHEA. First there were the original hardcovers, Books 1 and 2. Then there were the original trade paperbacks, Books 1 and 2. Then there was ABSOLUTE PROMETHEA BOOK ONE, now this Deluxe Edition.
As the designer of the original hardcovers and softcovers, I have to say I still prefer the design work on those, but since DC has decided to remove all traces of the America’s Best Comics brand, which I used throughout, I can see why they haven’t used my designs. Putting the first twelve issues into one book makes good sense, as was done for the Absolute editions, I like that. The Absolutes are much larger and on better paper, I can’t imagine how you could get better reproduction of the material, so that’s my favorite version, despite some redesigning inside. At least J.H. Williams III and I designed the covers and slipcases together.
The new hardcover is in the Deluxe format, meaning it’s larger than the original collections, but not by a lot, and definitely smaller than the Absolutes. The paper quality is better than the originals, very white, but not as thick as the Absolutes, and the book is glue-bound rather than sewn. It’s still a nice package, though I don’t like the design work much. At least they brought back the brief introductory poems/text that ran before each issue in the first versions. I wrote most of those. There’s even one on the back cover. The front cover looks pretty good to me, but it takes the art from the Book 2 softcover and changes it, something J.H. would probably not be happy with. The additional material includes Alan’s script for issue #3, which is something I’m sure he wouldn’t be happy with.
In all, I’m glad to see the material continue to be made available in a handsome edition. It’s a terrific series. Retail price is $49.99, hefty, but half that of the Absolute Edition, which is probably long out of print, so not a bad way to go if you missed that. Should be out soon, if it isn’t already.
This issue clicked for me, it’s my favorite so far of the story arc. “The Just War Part 4” takes us mostly out of the battle and into the presence of Aphrodite, who not only doesn’t know why she’s here on this war-torn island, she doesn’t even want to be the goddess of love anymore. Not where I expected G. Willow Wilson to go, and that makes it more interesting. She and Steve Trevor have a fascinating debate while she heals his wound, and elsewhere, Wonder Woman is saving the grandchildren of the Prime Minister. If she can get them all to an arranged meeting place, a truce may be possible…or maybe not.
Well done, liked the art and everything else too. Recommended.