The Battle for Bludhaven #1 absolutely rocked my world! To be honest, I was not expecting much from this mini-series. Man, was I ever wrong! Gray and Palmiotti kicked this story off with a wild first issue. I fully expect Battle for Bludhaven #2 to continue this exciting ride.
Writers: Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti
Artists: Dan Jurgens & Jimmy Palmiotti
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.
Synopsis: The issue starts with the Nuclear Legion facing off with the Atomic Knight. And we have a braawwwwwl!!! During the fight, not one, not two, but three Atomic Knights are killed. Gardner Grayle instructs the rest of the Atomic Knights to evacuate the area. The Atomic Knights teleport away. Using this as a diversion, Major Victory also escapes.
We then cut to Father Time instructing the military to shoot to kill if they see anyone in a costume.
We then shift to a soldier harassing Tilt until Monolith shows up and tells him to back off. We then see Firebrand talking to the media telling them that there is a huge injustice being done here in Bludhaven. We then see the Teen Titans watching Firebrand on their TV. Robin tells the team that they need to go back to Bludhaven to help. Robin says he wants to talk to Firebrand first and see if he is starting trouble where there isn’t any.
We cut back to Father Time meeting with Major Victory. Major Victory tells Father Time that the rest of his team is dead and that the Atomic Knights are operating within Bludhaven. Father Time tells Major Victory that he is now being assigned to a group called the Super Human Advanced Defense Executive, S.H.A.D.E.
We shift back to the Atomic Knights. They find some refugees in an abandoned building. The refugees tell the Atomic Knights that the Black Baron has been hoarding all the medicine and dry goods in the area. The Black Baron also takes the children in case the bomb has changed them. The Black Baron is operating out of the Rabe Hospital. Grayle contacts Roundtable and tells it to send a detachment to investigate the Black Baron’s HQ. Roundtable tells Grayle that it has located the U.S. military’s experimental installation where the radioactive anomaly is centered.
We then cut over to Father Time assembling several new members of S.H.A.D.E. including a character named Bigfoot and Miss Knight, a daughter of a Senator.
We shift back to Firebrand talking with Tilt and Monolith. Firebrand is trying to get them to join him in rising up against the military. Monolith agrees that there is something bad and wrong inside the wall around Bludhaven.
We then cut back to the first meeting of S.H.A.D.E. The team is comprised of a new Lady Liberty, a new Silent Majority, Major Victory, Bigfoot, a new Human Bomb, a new Phantom Lady, and a newly resurrected team leader: Major Force! (Wow! An old Captain Atom baddie.) Father Time tells S.H.A.D.E. to find the Atomic Knights and eliminate them and to then secure the city. Phantom Lady disagrees with Father Time wanting them to kill the Atomic Knights. This leads to some pretty nasty smack talk between Phantom Lady and Major Force.
We shift back to the Atomic Knights outside the military installation where the radioactive anomaly is centered. The Knights sneak in the installation and see a bunch of metahumans all hooked together to some type of nuclear device. The scientists administer the radiation treatment to the metahumans. At this point, Father Time shows up and discovers the intruders. At that point from the middle of the nuclear reactor core that the metahumans are attached to appears a body. It is Captain Atom! End of issue.
The Good: Wow! Talk about a big-time “Holy Shit” ending! Captain Atom has returned! I love it. I’m a big Captain Atom fan, so I’m glad to see him back in the DC Universe. This was a fantastic issue. Gray and Palmiotti keep this excellent story rolling in Battle for Bludhaven #2. There was no let-up at all from the first issue. The minute I put down this issue I was already looking forward to the next issue. That is the sign of a good comic.
Gray and Palmiotti are spinning a highly entertaining story. Each character is well written. The dialogue is tight and well done. Each character has their own unique voice. And there are so many cool plotlines. We have one faction consisting of Firebrand and Monolith that may end up including the Titans who want the secrecy of the U.S. military exposed. We have a second faction consisting of the mysterious Roundtable and the Atomic Knights with their desire to foil the government’s radioactive anomaly research. We have a third faction consisting of the newly formed S.H.A.D.E. about to be unleashed by the U.S. military. Each faction has their own fully developed motivations. Each one is equally interesting.
I like this new group, S.H.A.D.E. You can see that they are going to be the genesis of the new Freedom Force. You have a new version of Human Bomb and Phantom Lady. Add the Ray and Uncle Sam and maybe Bigfoot and you have the new Freedom Force. I like all the characters in S.H.A.D.E. and I cannot wait to see them in action. It was cool to see Major Force again.
Obviously, the big kicker is the re-introduction of Captain Atom to the DC universe. I love it! I am a huge Captain Atom fan and I cannot wait to see what DC has in store for him.
There are so many layers to this story. That is what makes it so much fun to read. And there are so many unexpected twists and turns. There have been more in just two issues than most titles have in 12 issues! And, Gray and Palmiotti have not been shy about killing characters. So far the body count includes Silent Majority, Lady Liberty, one villain from the Nuclear Legion and three Atomic Knights. Don’t get attached to these characters! I’m sure we will see a rise in the body count in the remaining 4 issues.
Gray and Palmiotti are spinning such an entertaining and complex story. And Gray and Palmiotti have managed to pull this off without the story being so convoluted that it is impossible to follow. I cannot recommend this title enough. Battle for Bludhaven is definitely worth getting.
The art is average. It is nothing spectacular, but it is good enough that it doesn’t detract from the story.
The Bad: I have no complaints at all about this title. Battle for Bludhaven is a sleeper hit! I did not see this coming. Could the art be a little better? Yeah. And if it was then this issue would have rocked a 9 Night Girls out of 10. The art is just a bit too “old school” looking for me. It is a little too generic and stiff for my tastes.