The Nose Never Lies
"Green Arrow has a bald spot, that's why he wears a hat." -Ralph Dibny (Elongated Man)
Brian Metzger is a master with this story telling. The story starts out very sweet, Elongated Man on a stake out with a young female hero, talking about his wife and how they met. The sense of love between the two is so strong, it makes the butterflies in your stomach get are warm and squishy. Then, at the same time, there is this sense of foreboding. Everyone is getting warning signals from Watchtower that something is not right. The whole time you letting reading the story unfold, your waiting for the shoe to drop. You know something is gonna happen, even if you've never seen this book before. It feels like a emergency tornado siren that gets a little louder after every panel you finish... a lit louder, a little more, until it feels like you can here a train outside your door.
Then it happens all at once, in two pages, the shit hits the fan... super big time. Fights in two areas, one kinda normal, for superheroes, and one that shakes at your core. Everyone remembers reading or seeing a cartoon about how Lex Luthor always took Lois and Jimmy Olson hostage to goad Superman into a trap, but this is different, this is visceral, this is personal. Lois and Jimmy jump onto the front line and make themselves a target, they know the stakes... this is different. This is like if Lex kicked down the farm house door and punched Ma Kent in the face, then pushed her face against a hot burner on the range. These scenes makes you feel a little ill, like you're a witness to a hate crime, except you can't do anything to stop it, you can only watch in horror.
"BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! Goodbye Sue."
You saw the shots, you feel the sense of dread and worry, but then you see the bomb. You thought you were being emotionally attacked as far as you could go, then they take it a little father. Now, I haven't mentioned the art up until now, and that is not with any disrespect to Rags Morales. His art is perfectly fit for this story. Now this is not a slight towards Rags, his art was perfect, it is good enough to display all the visual information you need without distracting from the writing at all. Now the real unsung hero in this book is the colorist, Alex Sinclair, he has perfectly set the tone on every page, using a lot of blues in the nighttime shots, using a significantly brighter palette when doing the flashbacks, and deep blues and purples when showing emotional anguish. Amazing job.
"Now. Ralph Dibny. Widower."
Things calm down to an almost uneasy methodical pace, people are contacted, crime scenes are scrubbed for evidence, at this time I notice something I've taken for granted the last couple of years. I love that DC has taken to color "thought bubbles" the color of the hero thinking it, and sometimes adding a sly, subtle logo in there too. It helps with continuing the story without having to literally point the bubble at the person thinking it. If Green Arrow is on the page walking, and there is a green square box with white type in it, I immediately know that those are Green Arrow's thoughts. It helps keep the suspension of disbelief going indeed of constantly reminding you that you're reading a comic book.
"Barry said it when he nominated Ralph for membership. Clark and Bruce may be the bricks --- but Ralph and Sue --- they were the mortar."
Then the hunt for Dr. Light begins. Why is he the number one suspect with a select group of Justice Leaguers? What happened years ago that wasn't admitted into the League data archives? Why Dr. Light?