I have been looking forward to this book since Katana was announced as it's own six issue mini series back in July and then when they added Deadshot to the mix, the deal got even sweeter. Sure, some will write it off as a quick cash grab for the upcoming Suicide Squad movie, but if you like either character (or both), who cares...just open it up and enjoy the ride. Of course, that's an easy thing to say before reading the issue, but that's why I'm here, to do the dirty work and tell you if I think it's any good. Then it's up to you to decide if my opinion means more to you than a handshake and a cup of water. I sure do hope it is...
Deadshot:Out of the PastWritten by: Brian Buccellato
Art by:Viktor Bogdanovic, Richard Friend, Michael Spicer and Clem Robins
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: January 27, 2016
The story begins with a bang...and a couple of explosions...and a ton of gunshots! This is Deadshot and Brian Buccellato starts things off just the way you'd think and want. Floyd is in South America hunting down Guillermo Lapaz, an awful drug lord, for Amanda Waller and while he doesn't get his man, he shows us what this series is all about...bloody action and plenty of it.
Back in Belle Reve, Floyd is passing the time when he gets some very personal information and a new (old) job. The personal info has to wait for later because Waller is sending Deadshot to Gotham to grab the daughter of Lapaz who is under the Falcone's care. He's not going alone, though, he's going in with Will Evans, a bulked up, armored gunslinger.
I don't know what to think of this yet. Floyd certainly is pissed that he has to break in a rookie on the job and the fact that Will is also a sharpshooter doesn't seem to sit well with him. The feeling seems mutual and after hurting each other, they are off to Gotham.
It's obvious that the tension in this issue is going to be generated from Will and Floyd's differing methods and philosophies about their job because it starts right away. While Will wants to be the smartest gun in the room, Floyd just wants to follow orders. Actually, there is something else he wants even more and as Will goes ballistic on the Falcones, Deadshot slips away and heads off to investigate that personal information that Waller slipped to him earlier. The issue ends with a cliffhanger that goes against what little we saw of Deadshot's origin and hints at what Waller was taunting Floyd with earlier in the issue.
The whole Will Evans angle came out of nowhere and surprised the hell out of me. I am somewhat intrigued to see if him and Floyd develop a better relationship, but right now i really want to see the damage he's done to the Falcone Thugs. He's a loose cannon for sure. As for Deadshot, I like the world weary characterization and Buccellato already is showing he has his voice down pat. Going forward, I am very interested in seeing his "true" origin play out and hope it's filled with more bullets and explosions.
I am already a huge Viktor Bogdanovic fan and I hope that this book shows more people how good he is. There's not a ton of backgrounds in the panels, but his detailed character work is top notch and shine all by themselves.
Bits and Pieces:
This was a good start to the series that sets up the characters and a couple conflicts and throws in the mystery of Deadshot's origin as the thing pushing the book forward. The art by Viktor Bogdanovic was great and I am looking forward to continuing the story next month. Score: 8.0/10
Katana: Dawn of the Age of Chaos
Written by: Mike W. Barr
Art by: Diogenes Neves, Carrie Strachan and Saida Temofonte
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: January 27, 2016
Mike Barr throws us right into the action with a couple of pages showing a huge army getting an inspirational speech about the usual bad guy stuff; invasion, sacrifice, chaos, glory...all in the name of Kobra! Then we get our first glimpse of Katana and while she is looking awesome in her jet finds herself on the wrong side of a rocket and crash lands. The thing I liked most about this opening is Katana's reference to Green Lantern. It may not mean anything at all, but a guy can hope, right?
For the time being, I can just be happy that Katana kicks ass. As the Kobra soldiers search her ship, she uses her head and her steel to take them out. She then heads off to find a Dr. Jace and tells her that she is there for the Justice League. That explains the Green lantern reference and also shows the original direction of the book before it was thrown into a Suicide Squad tie-in.
It's quickly shown that Katana is interested in Dr. Jace's research combining physics and mysticism. It has to do with her Soultaker sword, but it's not really explained fully. Hopefully, it will be eventually, but right now they have some escaping to do. They don't get far, however, before everyone in town wants to get out with them and when Katana allows it, it sets up a Seven Samurai situation pitting the townspeople and Katana versus Kobra.
The rest of the issue is action packed with Katana's jet acting as a decoy bomb and Katana fighting Kobra's second in command, Lady Naja. When Katana is bested, Naja grabs Dr. Jace and is teleported up to the suddenly appearing (and huge) Kobra command ship. The issue ends with the Kobra leader telling the villagers that if they continue to resist, they will all die.
I really don't know what to say about this story so far. Mike Barr doesn't really give us enough story for me to be excited or disappointed yet and while I liked the action scenes, everything else fell a bit flat. I am a Katana fan and have been waiting patiently for a good Katana book since the Ann Nocenti garbage was canceled, but I'm not sure this is it.
Diogenes Neves' art followed suit by being okay with nothing that really stuck out or wowed me. I liked his character model for Katana, but everything, including Kobra just looked generic.
Bits and Pieces:
While this story still has time to explain itself better, this first issue was a disappointment. I hate to be cynical, but after reading it, i can see why the powers that be decided to piggyback it with Deadshot and make it a Suicide Squad tie-in. The art and story are not strong enough to make this a passable solo outing and even here, it is the weaker of the two stories. Score: 4.75/10
While this may be a Suicide Squad tie-in by name only (or at least the Katana part is), there is barely enough here to warrant a look see. While I liked the Deadshot story, the Katana one was weak and overall, there isn't anything here that screams "must buy". I'm not bailing yet, but if next month's issue isn't an improvement overall, I will.