Excellence in Execution
Issue #1, reviewed here, started what looked to be a promising start to a great series. Now with the release of Crisis #2, the bar is raised even higher with little actual effort. There are so many reasons I love this issue ranging from the simple to the most subtle of things. I guess when in doubt, judge a book by its cover.
While you aren’t supposed to do that, this issue holds up very well both in cover and artistic value inside. I am not a huge fan of the cover with Bane breaking The Bat simply because I do not see the relevance to this issue, but if you get the Harley cover that’s another matter. Harley standing on Batsy’s back with Wonder Woman’s lasso around his neck paints an intriguing question of how the hell could that happen?!
Then you open the issue. The artwork by Clay Mann and Travis Moore and coloring by Tomeu Morey and Arif Prianto are just gorgeous. It has such rich detail and perfectly placed coloring I would love to have several panels simply as posters. I have not seen Penguin in the comics in some time. I love the design they gave him. For me it catches a lot of Danny Divito’s look from way back, being all dark and sinister. Penguin sits all nice and pretty at his club, yet the feel of the sewer still surrounds him. The artists also do a wonderful job maximizing facial expressions.
So What About the Story?
Story-wise I do not know that a lot actually “happens” or that the story is advanced much, but the detail put into every page enthralls you non-the-less. Everyone is still trying to figure out who killed Sanctuary. It seems to be a toss-up right now between Booster Gold and Harley Quinn. In the lone autopsy we are shown with Batman, the evidence appears to point to Harley as who else at Sanctuary would stuff toy choppers down a hero’s throat? Was that how she killed him? Or was that simply leaving a calling card for the Trinity to find, so they would know to come talk to her?
I’m honestly leaning towards the latter. When the Trinity find her in Penguin’s hide out, she sarcastically shoots back at Batman that she “got a ‘safe’ house from the gossipiest crook in Gotham. Not because I am trying to find a quick way to meet you, no way. But because I am trying to…’hide.’”
The other story line is Booster waking up and needing to figure out what to do. I really enjoyed the banter back and forth between him and Skeets debating the probabilities of what Batman would do. Pretty sure he guessed wrong as we now have The Flash beating the tar out of him.
Perfection of Character
I think one of the greatest parts of this issue is the way it captured the personalities so well of each of the characters involved. Harley is Harley. We start with her “booping” Ivy as Ivy does her confessional. I could hear Harley’s squeaky voice every time. The way she talks with Penguin, asking for a hide-out, shows her capability of going from bouncy and boisterous to timid and demure. Harley has always had such a great panache and ability to mix lie with truth that she even manages to get the drop on The Trinity of all people when they corner her. Her breakdown into Wonder Woman’s arms is so believable, Diana completely get suckered out of her lasso.
I do not know much about Booster Gold. I believe he holds the title for greatest superhero to never get his own story (movie, tv, etc). It’s fun listening to him talk with Skeets. He wants to do the right thing but has no clue what it is. When in doubt be brave and do the stupidest thing imaginable. Let’s piss off a major superhero who just lost someone at Sanctuary.
Lastly the interaction between the Trinity through the whole issue is so dead on. Superman and Wonder Woman know that Bruce is covering up the truth even though he denies everything, including having a certain green rock in his belt. When they find Harley, Superman could have ended everything in 3 seconds or less. Instead Batman tells him to hold off. Then when Harley gets the drop on WW and Bats, Diana tells Supes to hold off. The end result? Harley plays the first two to get to the kryptonite that Batman doesn’t have in his belt to weaken Superman and get away! I also laughed right after that when Superman says she is not only good, but as good as Batman. Of course, Batman begins to object, but Diana steps in with “Boys. Not right now.”
Do Superheroes Cry?
One other thing we are shown is that each of the Trinity showed up at some point to Sanctuary. Batman appears to make use of it while Clark and Diana each appear to try it but end up walking away. There was something else though to these confession pages if you look closer. What is each of them there for?
Bruce is having a hard time because he keeps watching those around him, his adoptive family, die. With Diana, while its not quite a case of domestic abuse, it was not far from it either. She has dreams of being wounded. She goes to her mother only to watch as she screams as an arrow is pulled out of her side. Diana now feels she must hide her feelings. Finally, with Clark, we have a man that has lost his identity because he has spent his whole life trying to be what others want and what he thinks he needs to be. He has lost who he truly is. When I read this page, the song Superman (It’s not easy) by Five For Fighting kept playing in my head. The themes are so similar. Here we have the greatest superheroes ever, suffering from what the average person suffers.
Power in Subtlety
One final thought. Near the very end, the page with Harley standing high atop a bridge with a rose was very moving. You start with the fact she is mourning someone. This issue would seem to imply that the loss was Poison Ivy, killed back at Sanctuary. If that wasn’t moving enough, her words as she drops the rose are a reflection of her whole life and how messed up it is. Some of the statements even contradict each other. I should have done this. I shouldn’t have done that. I shouldn’t have let anyone…hurt me. It was a very touching page that adds so much depth to Harley.