While I like the concept of the book and love the cover (including the slug “The Secret History of the New 52 is Told Here!”) by Doug Mahnke and Blond, I found myself majorly disappointed by the content of “Team 7” #1. After all, with a cast that includes Slade Wilson (before he chose to operate as Deathstroke), Black Canary, Grifter and perpetual badass Amanda Waller all armed to the teeth and ready to destroy stuff, “Team 7” should be the comic book version of “The Expendables.” Except there are no memorable one-liners, no grandiose explosions and even less characterization.
With more panels bereft of significant backgrounds than those that have backgrounds, the art lacks weight. The characters are — literally — floating heads that barely even interact with each other as much as they happen to be jammed into the same panels (many of those panels simply have backgrounds that wouldn’t pass most portfolio reviews) drawn by JesÃºs Merino. Given that a trio of inkers accompanies Merino, I think it’s safe to say there were some time constraints at play in production. Except this is the first issue! Although he gets layout assists from Ron Frenz, Merino doesn’t get much help from Nathan Eyring’s colors. Eyring renders the world in these pages in believable, droll tones. There’s simply not enough excitement in these pages to entice exciting colors. Carlos M. Mangual letters the book, which unfortunately, contains the most exposition ever packed into humdrum caption boxes that I’ve seen since the DC Universe rebooted last year.
Those exposition-heavy captions don’t provide narrative as much as they describe the characters. Justin Jordan seems to have ideas with what he’d like to do with the members of Team 7, but after the zero issue and this one, beyond Canary, Waller, Grifter and Deathstroke, the characters really don’t exude much personality. The exception there would be Alex Fairchild, whose claim to fame here is that he’s a moneygrubbing loudmouth. Taking a good, hard look at those characters, there’s nothing in their composition to keep me wanting to read their adventures. “Team 7” #1, weighed down by the excessive info dump, just falls flat.
Just as I thought I could write this one off, the story really begins on the seventeenth page of this issue. With only three pages to go, I found myself roused from a “Team 7” induced slumber to actually find some enthusiasm for what’s coming up next. I just hope that “next” doesn’t include droning monologue that spills exposition all over what should, by all rights, be a fun, action-packed adventure. Since I’m putting my hopes out there for this book, some stronger art, more in line with Mahnke’s cover, would be pretty darn good too.