Today, Mike Logsdon and Shelby are discussing Team 7 1, originally released October 10th, 2012.
Mik: Hey all, Mikyzptlk here, but you can call me Mik (with a long “I”) if, you know, you’re into the whole brevity thing. With that out of the way, let’s get cracking. Going into Team 7, I know next to nothing about this team. I know that it was originally a Wildstorm book but that’s about it. Except for The Authority, I tended to stay away from most of what Wildstorm had to offer. That being the case, I normally wouldn’t be interested in this book but DC has done a few clever things to get me interested. First off, they’ve added a few familiar faces from the DCU into the mix and, more importantly, they’ve set the book in the early (and mostly shrouded) years of the The New 52. ZERO Month did a good job of filling in some of the details of the first 5 years of the new DCU but there are still A LOT of gaps to close.
Team 7’s ZERO issue gave us a quick rundown of our main players but after a month away from the book all I seem to recall is that the team consists of some of my favorite DC characters…and some other guys. Sure, I know Grifter is also on the team but I only remember him because of the weird bandana mask he wears. With that in mind, I’ll now sum up the book as best I can. Black Canary, Deathstroke, Amanda Waller, Grifter…and the rest are flying on a plane heading towards some mission involving a floating prison called “The Float.” I know what you’re going to ask but, unfortunately, they did not specify which flavor. So for the purpose of this summary, let’s just assume Root Beer and move on.
This dessert…I mean prison has ceased communications with the proper authorities and Team 7 is supposed to find out why. As the team approaches they begin taking fire and are forced to jump ship. Fortunately, they are close enough to the floating prison that they are all able to land safely aboard. Once inside they discover what has gone wrong, or in this case, who. The team gets bombarded by a mob of prisoners who have all been infected by who I assume to be Eclipso.
The writer of this series, Justin Jordan (no relation to Hal), has put together a group of soldiers who apparently hate each other. I say that because everyone on this team seemed to stand around scowling at each other for most of the issue. I get that they all just became a team but that’s no excuse for these characters to have no chemistry whatsoever. It’s clear that a big part of his book (at least initially) is going to be about how this ragtag bunch of soldiers learn to work together to become Team 7. That’s fine and all (if not a little been there, done that *coughJustice Leaguecough*) but the problem is I’m not so sure if I really care to find out how this all turns out. The writing here just felt stilted to me for the most part and even though some cool things were happening I never felt emotionally tied to the story. Take the following scene for example. In it, Black Canary’s boyfriend, Kurt Lance, was just rescued from falling his to death by a Gears of War cosplayer.
I get that Jordan is trying to tell me that Black Canary is relieved that Kurt didn’t just die but the reactions are so flat that I just don’t believe it. We all know that this team is doomed to failure and that a lot of terrible shit is probably going to happen to most, if not all, of them. For any of that tragedy to mean anything I need to be emotionally invested, but if things keep going the way they are I really don’t think that’ll happen.
The cover of this issue reads “The Secret History of The New 52 is Told Here!” and I really hope that Jordan takes advantage of this books temporal setting and really try to dig into the early years of this brave, new DCU. I think that for this book to succeed they are going to need to tie into the history of the The New 52 and simultaneously incorporate the many Wildstorm characters that have been folded into the fabric of the DCU. Are these characters really needed in the face of the DCU? Should we give a damn about these relatively unpowered “heroes” when the DCU has so many shiny super-powered alternatives? Team 7 is going to answer those questions one way or the other.
Oh yeah, the art. Jesus Merino illustrates this issue and does a pretty decent job. He tells a clear story has a nice sense of flow though I can’t help but feel he needs to refine some of his characters a bit more, Black Canary and Deathstroke seemed just a bit off to me. That said, the page below is probably my favorite of the issue and is a fine action shot.
Shelby, I’m not sure what experience you have with the Wildstorm universe, but what do you make of all this? Are you interested in any of these characters now that we are two issues in? I know you were a fan of Deathstroke (before he was Liefelded). What’s your take on Jordan’s portrayal of the character considering that he’ll soon have full control of Deathstroke both in this and his solo book?
Shelby: Mik, I think you hit the nail on the head when you said you aren’t emotionally tied to this story. I’m going to take it a step further and say I don’t care about any of these characters. Even the ones I care about, like Kurt and Dinah, I don’t care about. We’ve got a team of approximately 700 people, most of whose names I don’t know despite the fact they keep saying them over and over, and they’re already diving into a life-threatening situation. Are Bald Guy and Man with Blonde Ponytail going to make it out ok? I don’t care! I think the cover for this title perfectly represents the problems I’m having.
We’ve got the impossible physics of the hero pyramid, and I don’t even know who all these people are. I think that guy next to Deathstroke with the sideburns is actually the team lead who is narrating the book? This isn’t even the whole team! All joking aside, I think a fundamental problem of this book is too many characters. It’s no wonder they have no chemistry as a team, they barely have any personality of their own yet.
If I want to look past the small problem of not caring about or knowing who any of the main characters are, I don’t really believe in the story, either. Sure, it’s action-y fun, and yeah those crazy metaprisoners are kind of cool, but I’ve got some problems with the whole situation. The narrator makes a point of telling us all these people are peerless in what they do. He even comes right out and says that Amanda Waller is such a brilliant analyst he wants to lock her up safe and sound forever. I don’t know enough about what the narrator wants to accomplish to believe it’s worth throwing these peoples’ lives away. This is a huge, 7-stage test, I presume to find the perfect candidate to become the first man-made-metahuman. Even though we are told that the country to create metas will rule them all, I’m used to an universe of metas running around everywhere. I know already that Dinah and Slade become metahumans, and I know Grifter’s got something going on as well. I don’t see how risking these valuable military assets is worth the reward. Moreover, I don’t believe their first test, the test with the lowest stakes, will take place in a setting worth “the GDP of Belgium, plus a few zeroes.” Grifter already blew a hole in it! They’ve been given just enough intel to know it’s impossibly expensive, and without knowing anything more almost have no choice but to blow holes in the thing. Again, I don’t believe the risk is worth the reward.
Personally, I believe this title has a lot of problems. I don’t care about the characters enough to be invested in their growth, or to take the time to remember their names. I can’t really enjoy it as an 80’s action flick because I don’t believe enough in the story being presented. Sadly, the best thing I can hope for is some of these guys getting killed off so they’re easier to keep track of; that might, too, give us an opportunity for some emotional growth as well. The only thing I’m hoping to glean from this book is what happened to Dinah and Kurt, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Birds of Prey gets to that answer first.
For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page. Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore. If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to DC’s website and download issues there. There’s no need to pirate, right?