The Many Dots Connect
The Young Masters decide it's time to go Zodiac on their forefathers and show the world what true villainy is all about. Their target is Doc Ock, but it would seem that the universe finds him crucial to the upholding the balance between order and chaos. Now it's up to the Teen Brigade to protect the very sort of man they'd just as soon let bite the big one. Well, I guess we'll see just how much they really see the bigger picture now won't we?
Dell'otto has been making some excellent covers for this series! Each of these has been poster worthy and he's nailed each of these villains down perfectly.
This issue actually serves as a very good jumping on point (you should still track down the first two issues of course). Casey wisely throws in an excellent one page summery of the first two issue on the first page.
To say this has been a weird series would be quite an understatement, but this issue starts off throwing us right into the deep end of wacky...and I LOVE It! Dragotta and Simpson have been doing an amazing job on this series and the opening sequences of this comic may be some of their best. There's some really great, very trippy psychedelic imagery in here. And they way Dragotta and Simpson play with composition and color makes it really come alive. If these two don't get work on a regular monthly after this it'll be a tragedy.
I can't compliment Casey enough on how well he writes teenagers, it really is a rare ability so, so few writers have.
The Nighthawks confront former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Larry Young and we get some very nice dialogue and a well choreographed fight scene out of it. One thing that really impresses me about Dragotta's pencils is how well and effortlessly his models emote. The look on Young's face as he squares off with Javier really says everything that needs to be said. And despite the fact he's wearing a mask you can almost see the facial expressions beneath it as Joaquin speaks. Dragotta has a rare ability to really define character personality and relationships via body language. Artists like him truly are a great find.
In-Betweener comes up with a plan to have Miss America distract the Braak'nhud and it works a bit too well. Luckily she runs into the Last Defenders and they lend a helping hand. The battle here is appropriately chaotic but also clean and easy to follow, very difficult to do. Casey does a great job with the character interaction and dialogue here between the defenders and Miss America. I especially liked her interaction with She-Hulk. Poor She-Hulk, she thought she made a new friend.
The confrontation between Beak, Angel, and Doc Ock was perfectly paced and written. The tension was thick the whole time and you get a good sense of how uncomfortable this "alliance" is for both parties. I mean, it's one thing to spend a good bit of your career getting trounced by a teenager, but another to rely on them to protect you in your twilight years. As usual Doc Ock's definitely up to something, and from the look of things it's something big. I'm really interested in seeing just what he has up his sleeves.
The fight between the Young Masters and the Sinister Six had some great art highlights and it's always cool to see Ultimate Nullifier in action, Dragotta gives him a great sense of motion during combat sequences. Being the giant tool that he is he immediately hot dogs it up and tries to hit on Black Knight and she does something to him that I think all readers have wanted to do since his first appearance on panel.
The last panel will make anybody who's been reading up to this point smile, couldn't happen to a nicer guy!
This series was definitely written with Joe Casey longtime followers in mind. I mean he really does reference and throw in every character he's ever written into this series and this issue's a fine example of this. I definitely had to put my wiki skills to good use to follow and see the narrative significance (or lack there of) in a lot of things. Definitely will be some nice easter eggs for longtime fans though.
Don't like that Hellstorm's wearing his Last Defender's/old school costume in this series. It just looks a bit silly, but I guess that's balanced out by him riding a chariot pulled by flaming infernal stallions...
Still not sure what Red Skull's up to in poland in the 40's or how it will tie into the present events.
I've really been enjoying the series up to this point, but I was wondering exactly when (or if) the various narratives going on would coalesce into a larger plot. Fortunately Joe Casey has laid all those concerns to rest with this carefully crafted and perfectly paced issue. The characters begin to cross paths and they do so do their individual missions and stories. Dragotta and Simpson's art remain stunning and Casey's writing humorous and irreverent as always. Most stories start losing steam halfway through, but Vengeance's hook sink deeply in. This book is a great change of pace from all the event, greater universe nonsense going on at Marvel. And generally speaking it's a good switch up from the same old same old that's been permeating the big two for years (decades even). I definitely gotta say that Vengeance #3 (and the mini series itself) is a definite buy.
P.S. Any writer who can squeeze in a well time Stanly Kubrick reference is aces in my book!