batwatch's Team 7 #3 - Black Diamond Probability, Mission 1.3: Darkness Rising review

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Team 7 #3

Darkness Rising

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Since this month’s Catwoman was a crossover with the mysteriously named The Black Diamond Probability story arc, I thought I should read tie in which had occured most recently leading up the Catwoman story. In addition to giving me a chance to broaden my horizons, I figure this will help me understand the nature of Eclipso in the New 52, and maybe it will shed light on the bizarre flesh map that Selina possessed.

I know very little about Team 7. My understanding is that this series was adapted from the Wildstorm universe, and in the DCNU, Team 7 is set five years in the past and consists of a group dedicated to fighting supernatural threats. I’m familiar with most of the characters, but I had to look up some info on Alex Fairchild, Grifter and Gamorra, but enough background. All I really care is whether this is a good story and whether it sheds any light on the DCNU Eclipso. Does this create a dark and moody tale, or is it just a black hole of putrid despair?

In this issue, Team 7 travels to Sentinel Island to stop a group of mercenaries from taking the Heart of Hell.

Let’s Hear It for the Colorist!

Ah, comic fans follow the writers and often rave about the pencilers, but the colorists get no love! Well, I object to that because the colors are stunning!

This issue is extremely vibrant and the colors change from page to page which is much nicer than what sometimes happens in the Bat books where things are simply different shades of black and grey on every page. It’s nice to see colors that are rich and schemes that shift frequently. The other elements of the art also solid, but it is the colors that push it into the realm of excellence.

For example, the first page features a cool scene where the members of Team 7 are rafting through a canyon, and the panel is positioned so that the reader is looking up past the canyon and into the sky in the background. Rather than insert one basic blue color for the sky, the artist takes the time to put different shades of blue across the sky in relation to the proximity to the sun, and I’m guessing the colorist was also responsible for the cloud bank which adds more depth and tone to the scene.

There are many other scenes which are equally striking such as the attack of the islands guardians, the lair of the Eclipso diamond, and the final panel. All of it looks wonderful, so kudos to the colorist, Nathan Eyring.

Team Dynamics

I think this team has real potential. Since I am not extremely familiar with this lineup and this is my only Team 7 issue, it is a hard call to make, but I felt like I was beginning to get a feel for the different characters. Even with his fairly small role in this issue, it is easy to see how Grifter’s attitude makes him a fan favorite. Seeing Slade as the loyal soldier rather than the cruel mercenary was more difficult to swallow, but I am willing to see what the writer is trying to do with the character. Dinah stands out as the only female voice in the crowd, but her lines were too brief to really get to know her, and the same can basically be said for the rest of the cast, but I get the impression that the writer does have a distinct voice for all the members of the team, and that is essential for a good group book.

The Writer

In general, I thought the book was pretty good from a scripting viewpoint, but I did see several slight flaws. First, there is nothing that tells you the point of this team. You kind of get a general idea from bits and pieces picked up through the issue, but there is no reason not to include a little description of the team on the title page. It’s simple, effective, and it has worked in comics for years. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Next up, Essence plays no important role in this issue, and she feels almost shoehorned in. Will she play an important part later, or was some editor just pushing for more crossovers. Regardless, Team 7 has no idea why she is helping and that makes her motivations suspect.

Finally, Gamorra shows up in only one page of this issue, but there is no explanation of who he is. Would it have been too hard to insert a caption that said, “Evil seeker of the Heart of Hell” or something like that? I don’t think so.

Conclusion 8/10

This issue was actually a lot of fun, and I can see myself coming to highly enjoy Team 7.

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