Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Team 7, Volume 1: Fight Fire With Fire by Justin Jordan and Jesus Merino Review

After discovering Justin Jordan’s excellent writing on books like Luther Strode and Shadowman, I decided to hunt down more titles he’s written which led me to the only other one I could find – Team 7. Normally I would avoid this because of the New 52 label on the cover, which has obtained the same notoriety as a hazardous sticker on a drum of toxic waste, but I thought, hey, this guy is awesome, I bet he brings his awesomeness to this book too!

Ah, optimism. Go die in the face of DC’s unrelenting awfulness that is the New 52!

Team 7 is a failed hotdog.

I know hotdogs are made from weird leftovers in meat processing plants but all those leftover scraps in a hotdog taste awesome in the finished product. With mustard in a bun? The greatest snack.

Team 7 is made up of leftover characters from other failed New 52 books – Deathstroke, Grifter, Black Canary, and the ever annoying Amanda Waller whom DC seem determined to make into female Nick Fury, and continue to fail in this goal. There are some others that make up the 7 but they’re nobodies. Put all these together and you have the world’s worst hotdog. No amount of mustard or fresh bread can save this thing from making you violently sick!

The book starts off mimicking the worst moment of The Phantom Menace (and that film was all bad moments), specifically the midi-chlorians scene where George Lucas ruins the Force by saying it’s all biological. In the opening issue the boss of Team 7 says that the emerging meta-humans (superheroes to you and I) all have special genes that give them superpowers. I know DC love their realism and are trying to take away all sense of wonder and fun with their characters, but really - the meta-human gene? For fuck’s sake, DC…

I pretty much zoned out on the excessive narration employed in this book so I can’t tell you the plot. It’s bad enough having one narrator telling you what’s going on, but two at the same time, while the art shows you what’s happening as well? What the hell were you thinking, Justin? And it’s not like they’re saying anything interesting either. Despite Deathstroke, Grifter, Black Canary, and Waller all being supposedly super-skilled fighters, they rely an awful lot on guns which is just plain boring and the whole thing reeked of yet another failed New 52 series, the godawful Blackhawks. Now I think about it more, the kinda good/kinda bad characters in this team book reminded me of an even worse New 52 series, Suicide Squad. So basically, this book has all the worst associations possible.

The “story” is about the usual guff – end of the world, bad guys wanting power, blah blah blah. The villain is called Eclipso which I think is the name of an ice lolly and just looked like yet another arbitrary bad guy – monstrous looking, big toothy smile, and, if this were a movie, almost certainly speaking with an English accent. In other words, predictable schlock from start to finish.

Except I didn’t finish it. Despite having shelled out for this book (I know, even heavily discounted, more fool me) I couldn’t keep going. It was just making me too miserable. So I closed the book at the halfway point and put it on the pile of books heading to the charity shop – more than a few of which are published by DC. And, like puking up a bad hotdog, I immediately felt better! Especially as I picked up the latest trade of Fraction and Aja’s Hawkeye which is the polar opposite to this book in terms of quality.

I know there are a number of people who rail on DC’s editorial as bringing the quality of their comics down, and I’m kind of on the fence with this opinion – that is until I read Team 7. How could Justin Jordan have gone from being an awesome writer putting out brilliant books like Luther Strode and Shadowman only to plummet so far with this book? It can’t be as simple as Jordan not trying on his work-for-hire, saving his A-game for his creator owned stuff, because Shadowman is work-for-hire at Valiant and that book rocks. Hmm… yeah, it’s DC editorial all right!

The one good thing I’ll say about DC editorial (because there’s nothing good to say about the book itself) is that Dan Didio has always said that he’s always on the lookout for new, exciting talent to come write for the company. And that’s certainly true of Justin Jordan, one of the most exciting new voices of recent years, so Didio deserves props for standing by his statement. It’s just a shame that working at DC completely sucks the creative juices out of said talent.

Team 7 Volume 1: Fight Fire With Fire

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