This is a book that is rather difficult to review, because it has four very different, very unique and separate parts to it’s story. Which is why, as youll see- in the end, I gave this book an unimpressive, albeit without disdain rating. The Firestorm story was one I was really interested in, because I loved the New 52 Firestorm book, and I was really excited to see where Gerry Conway was going to take this character- y’know, since he co-created it an all.
The visuals were really solid, but the story just seemed to be a bit flat. I liked the relationship between Ronnie and his football buddy Eddie, but I really was a bit miffed by how Professor Stein was handled- maybe because I am so smitten with Victor Garber’s take on him in the TV series of the same name that I thought we would be getting a suave, charismatic and butt-kicking silver fox, not a Nutty Professor-meets-Rainman that we had in this story.
Metamorpho was a bit of a better story, but with some flaws in the art- the characters changed their looks quite a bit, and im not just talking about Metamorpho. It was all the other characters who often looked very different from panel to panel. Maybe it was a stylistic choice, or maybe the art on this story was just rushed? I don’t know. But I liked the way this story flowed, and I am actually really interested to see where things go from here.
I liked the stuff with Java the caveman and his inability to cope with the fact that he was discovered by Mason (aka Metamorpho, and how he is in love with the Boss’s daughter, who also seems smitten with Mason, so he kind of goes off the deep-end and is planning to put an end to Metamorpho once and for all. The story felt pretty grounded for a book about a crazy element man, caveman and with a cameo from a random JLA baddie who was featured in a Green Lantern Animated feature.
Sugar and Spike was my most conflicted read of the issue, because I have zero connectivity to the characters prior to this story, and really don’t have much connection to them now. Killer Moth was a weird, but fitting addition to this story, but beyond that, this could have been a story about any two people in the DCU. It could have been Montoya and Allen and been a nice nod to Gotham Central. It didn’t feel like a decidedly “rebooted” or “Revamped” property, but was decent in spite of that. Beyond that though, I don’t really see myself clamoring for more Sugar and Spike anytime soon, or ever.
Lastly is Metal Men, a team I was vaguely aware of, but not opinionated on one way or the other. This story worked pretty well, and it kept me engaged, but it just didn’t have IT. Whatever “it” is- it just didn’t have it. I wasn’t excited by the story. I didn’t care about Doctor Will Magnus, or Doctor “im named like a Bond Girl” Chantilly Lace, so that was a majority of the cast of characters off the board for me right away. The visuals on this were the most pleasantly surprising, but that didn’t really give me any reason to be IN LOVE with this story- and I was not.
Overall, this was a decent oversized issue, but I would have liked to see MORE out of this issue (strange sentiment, I know). I would have liked more recognizable characters, beyond mentioning Batman, and seeing Alfred briefly, we don’t have any real moments where these characters have the slightest connection to the DCU, and that keeps me from having much of a connection with these stories. This isn’t a bad way to get people to read other stories, but for the higher-than-normal price tag, and the stories that are continuing on only in Legends of Tomorrow, I don’t really see this book being deemed “a resounding success”.