Reviewer: Tim Byrne
Story Title: ‘Objects in Motion’
Written by: J. Michael Straczynski
Pencilled by: Gary Frank
Inked by: Jon Sibal
Colored by: Chris Stomayor
Lettered by: Rus Wooton (VC)
Editor: Axel Alonso
Publisher: Marvel Comics
It’s taken fourteen long issues, but many story threads finally come together in this masterful issue.
After we get a fly-on-the-wall viewing of a military meeting of the minds regarding the various super-powered individuals running around, we cut to the fight scene that every reader of this series has been hanging out for : Hyperion, Blur and Nighthawk all working in concert against a super-powered villain.
I’m not giving anything away by stating that the subsequent battle spills over into occupied streets, and that it ebbs and flows prior to any firm resolution.
I love, love, love this issue. In many ways, I consider it a text-book example of the form a great comic book should take.
The initial military meeting provides seamless exposition, along with a handy summary of much background information for readers who may be coming in late. This dialogue-heavy stretch is presented fluently and coherently, and beautifully avoids the feeling that two characters are talking about things which they already know as a clumsy way of communicating facts to the reader.
The ‘camera’ then cuts to the fight scene, and it is here that the superb art comes to the fore. The judicious use of splash pages, along with a natural flow to the communication value of the panels, works to make what could have been a complex and difficult sequence (involving a number of characters) come across beautifully. The temperaments of the different characters is also brought to the fore, with Hyperion’s new awareness of his own limitations, Nighthawk’s grumpiness and Blur’s youth.
At the same time there is a maturity and (dare I say) realism brought to the heroes that, despite their bickering, there is never any serious question that their co-operation will be severed in the face of the current threat.
The danger to innocent by-standers is acknowledged and is indeed a prominent issue within the battle. This factor is so very rarely given notice, particularly when half of these kind of battles take place in the middle of New York City.
Joe Ledger makes an appearance in the final third of the book, and brings a completely understandable and logical military mind-set to the situation, making cogent arguments that sit at odds with the (understandable) attitudes of the others.
My only minor quibble is the absence at any peek at the current situation of the faux-Wonder Woman that has played such a prominent part in recent issues. However, given the fact that this issue only takes place over (say) two hours, this is perhaps understandable.
Its a pity about the delays, because this in one of the finest and most absorbing books out there at present.