A Beautiful Puzzle
There's no denying that Tony Harris' artwork is fantastic. There's an amazing sense of animated intensity, a bizarre level of detail to a style that is still so vibrantly cartoony. Harris is a very unique and outstanding artist in the business, and he manages to balance all those previous stated bits of quality with a nice unique sense of somewhat surreal layouts. This is a beautiful comic book.
Which is good because for now he's carrying a bit much of the weight of this series thus far. His art REALLY kept me going through some of the weaker moments of this issue. There's a lot of little things I could say, but I think it'd be easier to just dig into the core behind all these fragments. This isn't an introduction. We jump from a team-up with the JSA in Japan 1940, to Skull/Knuckes' childhood, and then to a duo mission in Switzerland 1940. Is the Japan portion supposed to be a general intro, showing him tangent away from the JSA Liberty Files this is apparently a spin-off of, or is that a point the series is going to reach? They're both in 1940, but there's no real indication of which one is meant to happen first. (Speaking of which, why is this not an Elseworlds story? If it's in the same universe as JSA Liberty Files then it most definitely IS an Elseworlds story. So where's the label?) Or are they even the same person, as its implied Whistling Skull is a legacy role?
The problem with this issue is that it sets up the story, but fails to set up the character. I found it hard to try keeping up with the main story because I was too busy trying to figure out what the connection was with the first two bits, and who The Whistling Skull was and how he got there, or even what his general m.o. is. I don't even know why he's on this misadventure.
In Conclusion: 3.5/5
Yes, Tony Harris' artwork is STUNNING and GORGEOUS but it alone can't carry this series. Luckily it doesn't need to hold it completely, but Moore needs to step up his game a bit to keep me totally on board. The pacing just isn't quite smooth, there's only three main scenes, I shouldn't be as confused as I am.