Be warned, there are spoilers in this review.
If the Patchwork Man were to be embodied as a comic book, it’d be this one right here. Under the magnificent (talking about art, not necessarily characters) Mauro Cascioli cover with Supergirl striking a disco pose, this book is more misses than hits. There’s still the grandiose plot of Prometheus to thwart, but in the meantime, this story has run its course elsewhere.
While we all know that tragedy befalls Star City, Roy Harper has lost an arm, and something happens to Lian, we never got the details — that happens here. The what that happens to Lian is surely enough to push any hero over the edge, and in this case it does. If you haven’t read it, I’m sure you’ll see it all over the internet any minute now: Lian Harper is dead. Star City lost ninety thousand, and we learn where Shade took Oliver Queen at the beginning of the most recent issue of “Justice League of America.”
I generally enjoy James Robinson’s writing, but this story has been hamstrung for months now. There is still a high level of drama in this issue, but it’s spoiled, and that stinks worse than curdled milk. This tale kept raising the bar on itself, but the payoff — the finale — was lackluster. Anyone checking solicits knows Roy Harper’s going to wake from his coma and be pretty pissed off. You also know Green Arrow has some issues coming up (pssst! They start right here!) and the Justice League continue on from here.
If the story being spoiled was deterrent enough, the art on this issue is a mismatch of styles, textures, and ability. There are entire pages that appear to have been colored with a box of Crayola washable markers. Juxtaposed with the effort Cascioli put into his part of this issue, it is rather disappointing. Beyond the coloring, there are panels that are drawn for sensationalist sake (the scene of Starfire jutting her hindside out as she tries to stop a falling building or any panel with Donna Troy in it), while minimal effort is made to the carnage and calamity in Star City save for the spread on pages two and three (the architecture there is stunning). The scene of Green Arrow’s “house” could have been the sandbox behind his house. I’m sure Prometheus’s machines were devastating, but they certainly would have left some recognizable wreckage behind. Other parts of the book struggle as well, such as the scene with Speedy (Mia) on the ground. It appears as though she’s been cut off at the navel.
This story deserved better than it got all the way around. Robinson had a fun, bombastic, over-the-top of over-the-top story planed out, but deadlines and continuity knocked the knees out from under it, giving the readers a shell of what could have been. Now, at the very least, we’re ready to move forward. The balance has been struck as this title catches up to the stories it was supposed to precede. What happens to the characters from here remains to be seen in some cases, such as Shazam (that’s what we’re still calling Freddy, right?). Other cases — such as Green Arrow — will be followed up on in a very high profile manner very soon. I hope those tales don’t get spoiled.