The respective problems of star-crossed lovers (pun intended), Barock and Zoe continue to mount in the latest issue of "Jersey Gods." Though the pair only met briefly in the first two issues, the knowledge that they will marry at some point in the near future is beginning to help ratchet up the tension for each's plot. In my reviews of the first and second issues, I was hard on the book for not getting to that destination sooner, but, here, the approach taken by Brunswick and McDaid works better.
Barock and two of his fellow gods are invading the citadel of Deltus, leader of a rival faction after Deltus initiated hostilities in secret. Things don't exactly as planned as Barock and Helius continue their strained partnership, unable to get along or work well together. Early on in the issue, they need to share an enemy's power rod with humorous results.
Meanwhile, on Earth, Zoe continues to pine over Barock as her personal and professional lives, somehow, get worse. A lunch with her parents gives readers their first taste of the promised meddling in-laws that Barock will have to contend with -- and they are a bit of a handful, especially Zoe's mother. She's singularly focused on Zoe landing a husband much to the chagrin of Zoe.
Though both plots are improvements over the last two issues, Brunswick's writing is still not hitting all of the marks. He's trying to walk the line between drama and comedy, and doesn't succeed all of the time. The jokes aren't as funny as they're meant to be and the conflicts are moving slowly.
Dan McDaid's art continues to wow with lots of energy. He delivers very strong work in this issue, adding dramatic tension in a lot of places. His close-up of Deltus in one panel is perfect, and he switches between cosmic god fights and banal human drama with ease. Actually, he seems to be injecting a lot of humanity into the gods plot and action into the human-centric scenes. The two worlds and styles are clearly bleeding into one another with great results.
This issue also marks the beginning of Mark Waid and Joe Infurnari's back-up stories, which take place during the last war of the gods. When dealing with characters that have such a rich back story, a back-up feature like this is a great idea, and Waid and Infurnari are a good fit.
Each issue of "Jersey Gods" sees Brunswick and McDaid grow in confidence and skill. While not quite a 'must read' yet, it's well on its way.