Crime Syndicate #1 – Andy Schmidt, Writer; Kieran McKeown/Dexter Vines, Bryan Hitch, Artists; Steve Oliff, Alex Sinclair, Colorists
Ray – 7.5/10
Ray: The multiverse has been reshuffled, and with it we have a new Earth-3—home of the Crime Syndicate. This twisted mirrorverse, full of sadistic doubles of iconic heroes, seems to get rebooted every few years and one of the best little touches in Death Metal was the reveal that it’s essentially guaranteed to survive as an antimatter counterpart in any reality. Much of this first issue is devoted to introducing us to the new versions of these villains, and some are much more interesting than the others. Ultraman is mostly the same brute he always is, intimidating Cat Grant out of posting “fake news” about him, while Superwoman is busy playing weird sex games/blackmail with President Oliver Queen. Atomica and a punk-like Johnny Quick barely appear, but I was intrigued by the ruthless yet familial dynamic that Owlman and Alfred have as they tear through the criminal element of Gotham City. Crime is their domain, of course.
The big wrinkle in this new world is that the new Power Ring is John Stewart, and he’s a very different kind of rogue than Hal’s double was. An ex-cop who is obsessed with order at all costs, he sounds very Sinestro-esque. His story is easily the most interesting one here. Artist Kieran McKeown has a good style, if not very distinctive, but he shines when the big threat of the issue emerges. This gives us a grotesque new look at an iconic DC villain (who likely doesn’t have a loveable son in a jar in this world). The lack of any likable characters is an issue, but this is a compelling first issue. It’s also a relatively short main story, as the standard-sized issue has a backup giving us the origin of Ultraman. Raised by a pair of manipulative parents who only wanted to use him for their benefits, it’s not hard to see how he turned out so corrupted. It’s an intriguing first issue, although still lacking in any real POV characters.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.