"I see how she got the drop on you Bruce" Superman say's in what I can only assume is a defeated and disappointing tone. "She's good. As good as you." This said to Batman by Superman after Harley Quinn bested the DC big 3. This comic is as good as it gets and as we traverse the content of it's pages, it starts to give off a Identity Crisis vibe. So the big question is, how does this issue stack up to the first and are we moving at a steady pace towards the end? So have a seat, slap on your reading glasses if you have em, and let's talk about it
First and foremost I want to talk about how Tom King is the master of humanization. He takes these larger than life entities and places them on a level that we can relate. This book shows Wonder Woman at her most fearful. Superman at his weakest. And Batman at his lowest. King takes the invincible and makes it vulnerable. And that's what this entire issue reeks of. Being Vulnerable. The issue tackles the fallout and investigation of the insane mass-killing at Sanctuary. And you get this real world vibe of "no rhyme or reason" to it at first. Yeah, towards the end you learn about "the Puddlers" (which is something I recommend you go do a little digging on). However, the overall sense is confusion to the who or why of the whole thing with even Batman claiming to not know.
And that's another driving factor of this issue. It does a great job at fleshing out the dynamic between the Trinity. How they view each other and most importantly how they view themselves. King gives us a look at each of their fears and concerns through confessional segments. It also shows that no matter what Batman goes through, he will always be a ass. Lying to Superman's face about carrying Kryptonite in his belt that would eventually come back to bite him in the end.
And that end was met with Harley at the Helm. See she and Booster Gold are the side missions here. Booster seems to have an idea that Harley killed the Heroes at Sanctuary and Harley says she witnessed him do it. Neither of them certain. Well, at least Booster isn't, Harley is pretty damn sure. However, after the events of issue 1, she went on the lamb using Penguin to find a safe house. What's awesome about this is the moment she's found.
If you look at the above images you'll find that what Superman said not only holds true about Harley being as good as Batman on a skillful level, but also on a mental one as well. You see Batman is all about being a step ahead and Harley clearly had him out witted from the moment she came to Penguin for help. Also there has to be something said about the fact that she's regressed to her original costume. What that is yet, I can't quite finger, but I'm sure King has a reason for it. As for Booster Gold. He choose to head to Barry for help, and that may prove to be his undoing. As Barry did not take to the news that Wally's been killed while at sanctuary, The place Barry put him. So it'll be interesting to see how the whole thing plays out in issue 3.
The art in this issue is just dirty, and I don't mean that in a bad way. It fits. Lines are jagged and varying in width. Cross hatching is everywhere. Yet, when you get to the panels where Booster meets up with The Flash it's clean, bright, and full of hope. This team clearly knows what they are doing and definitely have a story to tell. Mann and Moore teamed with Morey and Priantio do this issue the justice it deserves. I will say this though. The story that King is telling here is far more powerful than the art we see making each panel feel weightless and easy to look through.
So what do we get in the end? We get a book that is tugging at our heart strings showing us that Heroes have bad days too. Even when they come out on top. King is the master of this type of scenario and this is the kind of journey that's worth taking to see where it all leads.
Jonathan Quamina is founder/writer/editor for Geek Unhinged. Follow him on Twitter