If Michael Bay made comics, they would look exactly like this issue. There is a huge amount of spectacle here with monsters that fill up the entire page, but these creatures appear and are killed almost immediately after with no emotion attached. Things just happen until it’s time for the issue to end.
When the series began, it was one of my favorite of the New 52, but the last two issues felt like they were stretching out a story that could have been wrapped up in a month or two. This ending was not worth the four month wait.
Frankenstein is an interesting character, especially when alongside his former wife, but the other team members feel superfluous. Apart from some occasional banter, they don’t contribute much to the plot and are generally interchangeable. If one of them disappeared without any explanation, I doubt I’d even notice. The only member of the team that has some staying power is Dr. Mazursky, even though she’s a blatant rip off of Abe Sapien from Hellboy. Then again, the whole premise is a rip off of Hellboy, so I suppose it fits.
There is a lot about the series that’s enjoyable. The interactions between Father Time and Ray Palmer are worth their own book (which I would definitely read) and this project is a great use for Palmer outside of costume. The Atom was always kind of ridiculous, but now the shrinking technology can be used in a lot of interesting ways. In fact, it’s surprising that such applications haven’t been used more often in the past.
The general tone of the series is good as well, being a fast paced thrill ride from start to finish. However, breaks from the action are needed. The colors of the rainbow are great on their own, but mix them all together haphazardly and you just end up with a putrid monochrome.
Personally, I’d give the next issue one more chance to prove itself. This story was so extreme, so outlandish, so HUGE that it would take something especially grand to out-do it, but hopefully Jeff Lemire won’t go in that direction. If each plotline devolves to a simple by-the-numbers escalation of the previous one, this book will get very old, very fast. The teaser for next month promises a crossover with O.M.A.C., a series I’m unfamiliar with. DC has done this elsewhere in the New 52, most notably with Swamp Thing and Animal Man’s parallel stories that compliment each other very well. Whether this is more of that or simply an attempt to bring more readers to O.M.A.C. remains to be seen.
As per usual, the gritty art style fits perfectly with the tone of the series. No complaints there.
At the end of the book, when asked about the quality of his team mates, Frankenstein declares them to be good enough, which is kind of how the spirit behind this issue feels. It wasn’t great, but good enough.