The super-powered teenagers have agreed to join Baron Helmut Zemo's side, but only because they hope to betray him and pray that'll repair their reputations. But one of the teens didn't get this memo: Death Locket, the seemingly sweet girl who also happens to be half-cyborg and capable of all kinds of death and destruction. Needless to say, this is exactly the kind of person you want to be in the loop with the latest plan, otherwise some very, very bad things can occur. That's exactly what writer Dennis Hopeless focuses on in this issue: Death Locket's confusion over what's going on and trying to find out what she wants in life.
Thanks to her close connection to Excavator, Locket's been having a blast as a member of the Masters of Evil. I mean, which teen wouldn't when you can essentially play real life Mario Kart (as long as there's no blue shells...) and eat pizza all day? Chase is a supporting character here and attempts to serve as the voice of reason, but overall, this chapter really is about offering us an insight into Death Locket. And honestly, I found it to be a very engaging and entertaining read which flew by. It may not be all that emotional, but it effectively gives us a better read on how the character is feeling in this scenario and shows us what she's willing to do to fit in. She may be half-cyborg, but this story does a good job humanizing her. She's had a somewhat strict upbringing, been through hell, and just wants to enjoy life. Is that so much to ask?
I'm a big fan of Kev Walker's art, but Timothy Green II makes a great fit for this book -- especially with this chapter. There's a sense of twisted fun with the focus on Death Locket and Green II's style does a great job capturing the energy behind these moments. Along with Jason Gorder's inks and Jean-Francois Beaulieu' colors, the visuals have a slightly cartoon-ish appearance and it's perfect for the tone. Death Locket feels like she's often playing a video game, after all! There's also several panels where Beaulieu is given the opportunity to let the colors pack the true visual punch and they definitely deliver.
I really enjoyed the new visuals, but I do have some gripes. First and foremost, just how old is Death Locket supposed to be? In AVENGERS ARENA, she looked very young, but here she looks like she's approaching 20. It's like she abruptly went through puberty and now having her called "babe" multiple times is a little creepy considering how young she appeared in Walker's art. Also, there's a moment where Captain America is bumping into a vehicle, but the vivid effects that are meant to display impact were distracting and almost made it look like he was being shot multiple times. And, minor gripe, but Cap's just chilling after being shot at? You'd think he'd go on the offensive, especially since it doesn't look like he was knocked out.
The final conflict felt over the top and like unnecessary shock value. I understand the point Hopeless is making with the scenario, but considering Death Locket's capabilities, there were other ways to resolve it. I mean, couldn't she literally turn her hand into a mace -- like she did just moments ago -- and knock one of them out? Don't get me wrong, I understand she's confused and doesn't know which side to take, but you'd think she'd know there's more options than just shooting her friend.
Minor gripe: it's a bit of a bummer there's zero follow-up with Cammi. Good things come to those who wait, I guess?
This standalone issue about Death Locket does an effective job giving us a look inside her head and, in turn, gives us a stronger connection to the character. Even though we all know Death Locket can't kill Captain America (that would create just a few continuity issues, no?), Hopeless does a good job making the situation a gripping conflict for her. We know she won't pull the trigger and that'll be the end of Steve Rogers, but will she try and take the shot? I was legitimately glued to these pages to see what would happen next and overall, I was mostly pleased with how that situation went down. Sure, it's very odd that she now looks way older and the conclusion felt way too drastic, but it's still a thoroughly enjoyable read which captured my interest and gave me a better understanding of Death Locket.