DC This Week Roundup – Swaps and Sacrifices

Comic Books DC This Week
Aquaman/Green Arrow: Deep Target #2 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Aquaman/Green Arrow: Deep Target #2 – Brandon Thomas, Writer; Ronan Cliquet, Artist; Ulises Arreola, Colorist

Ray – 8/10

Ray: A very odd concept for a miniseries, this Freaky Friday-inspired story finds Oliver Queen and Arthur Curry having mystically swapped lives and memories. The first issue set the status quo up, and now that they’re reunited and not at each other’s throats, the focus shifts to them learning how to be each other. Much of this issue takes place aboard an airplane as they head to a site that might shed some light on this transformation. But when the plane comes under attack, they’re forced into action and the whole second half of the book is a chaotic fight scene. Ronan Cliquet’s art is great here, and it’s really interesting to see how these two heroes adapt to each other’s styles. We don’t get much more information about the why this issue, but the arrival of the main villain in the cliffhanger might change that. He’s a ridiculous villain, but ridiculous is turning into a pretty entertaining story here.

Checkmate #6 cover, via DC Comics.

Checkmate #6 – Brian Michael Bendis, Writer; Alex Maleev, Artist; Lee Loughridge, Colorist

Ray – 7.5/10

Ray: After a very long layover, Bendis’ Checkmate story finally comes to an end with this issue—and the ending leaves just as many questions as the beginning. The choice of Mark Shaw as the main villain of the series was odd, as he hadn’t been a relevant character for a long time, and even in this issue he seems kind of a side story to the various betrayals and moves for control of Checkmate that dominates. There’s a completely bizarre twist involving the true identity of the mysterious King, introducing a long-standing DC pulp hero to the mainstream DCU, but I can’t see how he fits in this story. The book is at its best when Bendis is working with the super-family, and the addition of Lois’ mysterious wild card of a brother does have promise. Ultimately, this worked as a stand-alone miniseries for Bendis and Maleev to explore the DCU through a spycraft lens, but the pacing was all off for an event.

Batman: Reptilian #6 cover, via DC Comics.

Batman: Reptilian #6 – Garth Ennis, Writer; Liam Sharp, Artist

Ray – 1/10

Ray: I’ve gone over my problems with this book before, so I won’t rehash my opinions on its over-reliance on gore and body horror. The much bigger problem here is that its take on Batman is one of the worst I’ve ever seen. That’s probably by design—Garth Ennis is known for his extreme takes on superheroes—but this final issue, which sees Batman sarcastically commenting on the death of the informant he blackmailed into working for him and turning Croc over to government agents for experimentation, is so beyond the pale that I can’t believe DC published it. Liam Sharp’s art is excellent, if a little muddier than his usual work, but no art could have saved this story. It’s so cynical that it feels like it’s written by someone just looking to express their dislike for Batman. Ennis has written some brilliant superhero stories over the years, but he’s not at home on a character like Batman whose moral code defines him.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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