That One Robot Totally Looks Like the Rabbit From We3
Is Caitlin Fairchild trying to dodge something in the cover, or are her legs severely broken. Her position just looks horrendously painful and makes no sense. The rest of the cover's not terrible, but not all that great. Fairchild's bizarre positioning steals a lot of the focus, so it's hard to not just see her weirdness dragging the overall composition down.
This issue has two artists, but it actually uses it for a purpose. Jesus Merino illustrates the present day framing story, while Pascal Alixe draws the past. It's kind of an odd choice, since Merino has.... basically been the regular artist for the series which has previously been entirely set in the past, so it would make more sense for him to continue the past, but either way his art looks excellent, and Alixe's compliments it pretty well, especially at some of the really grotesque things in this issue.
It's pragmatic, but kind of depressing, to see that most of the team is completely ignored. Pretty much all the guys who's names I always forgot aren't even present in this issue. Just Slade, Black Canary, Fairchild, and Lynch (who doesn't even count, he's the leader and never went on missions). Black Canary and Lynch have a pretty awkward conversation that just feels kind of pointless considering the time frame. He's talking about hardening them to face a world where super powers are beginning to emerge; but the rest of the New 52 is already in that world. And besides, we already see later in the issue that Lynch is a total snake of a man. I guess it could also be meant to foreshadow Black Canary's reasons for leaving the team, but again, we already basically know them in the present day. We also get a nice bit of character development for Alex Fairchild, who we know little about, and Slade, who's transition from Team 7 to mercenary Deathstroke is much more unknown. I thought this arc was supposed to explain Dethstroke's healing factor, which the solicits and end of the previous issue implied, so I figured the whole Spartan Project would be some kind of nanomachines or regenerative factor and Slade was a test subject after his critical injuries at the end of the Eclipso arc, but everything in the lab here is related to advanced robotics and bionics.
On that note, we're introduced to Ladytron, who I'm guessing is another Wildstorm character I'm unfamiliar with.... Yep. Just checked the wiki. I don't know if I'm interested in her, but she does create a nice emotional plot thread with Caitlin Fairchild. There's all these jokes about her age that don't seem to make sense, she looks like she's in her 20's. I dunno if it's Alixe's art, or if she's unaged for years because of her cybernetics, or if I'm just missing something, but it was odd. And then the flashback story fades out as it returns to the framing device; which seems far more interesting to me. Lynch has really turned into something darker with many secrets, and Spartan is actually well set up to be something big with relatively little effort. I think I get the connection, but I'm not sure I really care to see how the flashback pan out. Plus, we all know Caitlin's not dead because of her prominence in Ravagers. Team 7 is just popping up everywhere in the New 52, and overall the bigger story their appearances are building is just weird. It keeps spreading itself thinner and thinner while its core series drifts farther from it.
In Conclusion: 3/5
This was a lot more well paced than the more recent issues, but bogged down by a lot of unnecessary side stories we already know enough about; and the main story was just not nearly as enticing as the few pages of the framing story. I like where this arc is going, if it's going to continue the present day story, but overall this was a so-so issue in a so-so series.