The Good: I feel like this cover should've been put on the finale of the arc, but overall it's a very nice cover. Everyone gets showcase pretty equally, and each person's in a different action pose.
This is a fairly unique kind of team book. Most team books try to balance strong character emphasis evenly through all the members, but this series takes a little more of a detached approach. I almost feel like we're seeing this story through the eyes of various minor characters who never speak or make themselves known to us. We get to see a lot of characterization from the team members, but we never get truly into their heads. But it works, the focus is on the team as a unit, not the individual characters, but the characters aren't ignored, they each still have strong characterizations.
And things don't have to stay at status quo. Kunoichi's already gone through some major changes, and she's trying to get used to them. Meanwhile Irish has already suffered permanent injuries. But these characters don't mope around, they've got jobs to do, and dammit they're going to do them. Their injuries are just obstacles they overcome and work into their daily lives. These are characters who aren't standing still.
The fight sequences in this issue have a great smooth and realistic flow to them. I mean, it's not a realistic fight by itself, but the progression of the battle is very sensible and fun to read.
The final scene is a nice surprising shock.
The Bad: This series REALLY needs to stop changing artists every issue and settle on one. Preferably Trevor McCarthy or Ken Lashley, but frankly the constant change up is getting ridiculous.
Speaking of the changing artists, while Victor Ibanez worked great on Swamp Thing, his art looks barely average on this issue. Facial expressions tend to be very awkward, especially Kunoichi.
I'm not really sure where the arc is going to go from here. The Blackhawks take care of the threat at their home front, Canada and Wildman escape from Mother Machine but haven't defeated her... is this arc going to end with Mother Machine still a looming threat?
In Conclusion: 4/5
Blackhakws is becoming one of my biggest surprise gems of the New 52. It's not the greatest thing ever, but it's actually very solid, when I expected very little from it. I'm really enjoying the detached approach to strong characterization, and the whole G.I. Joe angle while sticking to the DCU. It's a very fun series, I just hope they can find ONE artist to stick with. And preferably not Victor Ibanez or Trevor Scott.