The Braddock Bunch
The first three covers for this series were brilliant tributes, varied, and gorgeous. The fourth cover was okay, but this one is just simplistic, lazy, and boring. Johnson's Kid Briton looks really dull, and he's all that's there, and just... there. There's nothing to this cover.
Luckily, we have the amazing Kev Walker back on interior art after a no show last issue, although Vitti's fill-in artwork was plenty great. Even if you loath the concept of this series, I don't think anyone's been able to deny that Walker's artwork is GORGEOUS and incredibly fitting.
Even though each issue has spent a lot of time digging into characters one by one, the story has still been moving along at a reasonable pace. We've been given the setting, a mystery, tension, and this issue we get a new phase of the game that has everyone beginning to head in a new direction. The key characters we've been introduced to are beginning to converge in their own groups, and things seem to be leading towards a big conflict. The recently shunned Nico and Chase focused on last issue meet up with the hardened Cammi we met the issue before that. And I've seen some criticism of a series focusing this much of reintroducing established characters; but if you look at the pattern, only two of the characters focused on had a lot that came before; Hazmat and Chase. 1 Avenger's Academy student, and one Runaway. Cammi has history, but honestly not very much. Deathlocket and this issue's focus, Kid Briton, are brand new characters who need this introduction.
After being given so much compassion and emotion for each of the introduced characters, the pattern changes up a bit, as the, previously seen to be an asshole, Kid Briton is.... given absolutely no redeeming qualities and actually comes off as even more of an asshole than we thought. His powers apparently rely on confidence, so he's used that as an excuse to be cocky and walk all over everyone else. He destroys a kid's laptop for no reason right before he begins cheating on Katy with Nara. Really, Kid Briton is a complete and unrepentant douchebag, and, well, we're not supposed to like him. It really makes things whirlwind emotionally when the seemingly soft Katy expresses a dark and morally hard-to-read side. I'm really finding the couple interesting because I don't know how to read either of them by the end of this issue.
But even harder to figure out is Deathlocket. We know that the girl inside the robot is completely innocent (and adorable), but clearly there's some darker secrets to the programming, based on the random outbursts we've seen from it while she slips into unconsciousness. There's a pretty big revelation about her that twists things up even more, and the nature of the game is called into question when two members of the Braddock Academy pose the potential scenario most readers have been guessing, almost eliminating it as a possibility from a literary standpoint. There's a lot going on in Murder World, and the first big climax is drawing ever nearer.
In Conclusion: 5/5
Despite the focus on Kid Briton, I think this was probably the most well rounded issue yet, in terms of utilizing the most members of the cast in story development. We're really seeing the major groups begin to blossom, and the potential for characters being willing to kill is more visible with Kid Briton's selfishness, Deathlocket's unpredictable potentially hidden programming, Hazmat's buried anguish over the death of Mettle, Katy's pragmatism, and the new appearance of limited resources.