DC Comics 2021
Written by Chuck Brown
Illustrated by Matthew Dow Smith
Coloured by Marissa Louise
Lettered by Clayton Cowles
Devil Ray has his sights set on Atlantis, and he races to put his grand plans into motion before Black Manta can unlock the secrets of the mysterious and deadly orichalcum metal. Meanwhile, Torrid forms an uneasy alliance with Manta and Gallous the Goat following their throwdown in Ethiopian airspace. But perhaps her reticence is not unfounded, as Manta’s villainous nature emerges on their quest for the truth.
I am a fan of the story here. Torrid and Manta have an uneasy alliance now and while neither trusts the other they do share a common goal. This of course is the deadly orichalcum metal and how to destroy it. I like the way Chuck is managing to weave the entire story around this metal and in doing so making some strange bedfellows including, spoiler alert, the longest living and creator of the Global Guardians Dr. Mist. Side note, now I want to see Primal Force make a comeback. We also finally see Aquaman making an appearance as he goes after Devil Ray for what he did to the Council. I mean with all these folks running around this book I’m impressed with how Chuck manages to streamline the story so that nothing feels rushed, over crowded or glossed over.
The way that this is being told is extremely well done. The story & plot development we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information are presented exceptionally well. The character development that we see through the dialogue, the character interaction as well as how we see them act and react to the situations and circumstances which they encounter does a wonderful job keeping these ever changing and evolving personalities at the forefront. The pacing is excellent and as it moves the story forward and we see more of the story being revealed we are more intrigued than ever before.
I am pretty impressed with how we see this being structured as well as how the layers within the story continue to emerge, grow, evolve and strengthen. I am also liking the way that we see these layers open up new avenues to be explored. Whether they all will be explored or not they all add this great depth, dimension and complexity to the story. How we see everything working together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves the story forward are impeccably handled.
I am not a fan of the interiors here. This isn’t something that I think fits this story or would find myself gravitating towards. A lot of the linework is thick and one note and there are many times when Torrid doesn’t seem to be shown very well and looks very generic. I know Matthew has some artistic chops so seeing this being so basic surprises me. I am more impressed with the backgrounds that we see being utilised than I am by the characters themselves and it should be the other way around or all should be done in the same fashion. Again this is MY opinion I am not speaking for anyone else and I’ve seen Matthew do some fantastic work in the past so this baffles me. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels shows a talented eye for storytelling.
Thankfully the story is so strong and the art isn’t so bad so it can still be an enjoyable read. It is most definitely worth reading and who knows maybe you’ll love Matthew’s simple style here, let me know what you think of it. I am loving the way we see Black Manta and how he makes no bones about being a villain with no intentions of being mistaken for someone who can be heroic. With some strong, interesting writing and stellar characterisation this is an intriguing little story.