Comic Book Review: Battle For Bludhaven #5

Battle For Bludhaven has been a huge hit here at the Revolution. This mini-series has been a pleasant surprise. I was not expecting this title to become one of my favorite reads on the market. But, Gray and Palmiotti have done an excellent job. Let’s see if Battle for Bludhaven #5 keeps the ball rolling.

Creative Team
Writer: Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti
Artists: Gordon Purcell & Jimmy Palmiotti

Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10.

Synopsis: The issue starts with Monolith tearing a whole in the street and pushing Firebrand into the sewer system and telling him to escape. Monolith then brawls with Major Force. Major Force ends up pounding Monolith into tiny pieces of rubble. Suddenly, Hal Jordan appears and demands to know what is going on. Major Force reacts to a Green Lantern like a toro to a red flag. And we officially have yet another braaaaawwwl! Doll Man informs Phantom Lady that Major Force hates Green Lanterns and even killed Kyle Rayner’s girlfriend and stuffed her body into a refrigerator. Human Bomb says that he refuses to fight Hal Jordan because Green Lantern has been one of his heroes since he was a kid.

We then shift to the Atomic Knights’ underground HQ. They are studying Captain Atom. Evidently, as a result of crossing dimensions, Captain Atom’s metallic shell has been breaches and his brain has been traumatized and has left him in a comatose state. They are trying to stabilize him in order to prevent Captain Atom from reaching critical mass. If that happens then it will make the Chemo event look like a roman candle.

Suddenly, Roundtable contacts Gardner and tells him that the Nuclear Legion and six unknown androids are in Tunnel sixteen and there are several metahumans engaged in combat on the street above that tunnel. Gardner armors up and says that they will deal with the intruders first.

We cut over to Tunnel 16 where the Nuclear Legion and the Nuclear Family are searching for the source of the radiation leak. We get treated to some pretty funny dialogue about the Nuclear Family’s talking dog who also curses like a sailor. The android dog tracks down several humans in the tunnel ahead who are transporting crates full of freakish animal creatures.

We then shift to the street above the tunnel where the S.H.A.D.E. agents are placing restraints on the unconscious Titans. Ravager pops out of hiding and we have yet another braaaaawwwl! Ravager proceeds to beat the hell out of the S.H.A.D.E. agents.

We then cut back to Tunnel 16. The Nuclear Legion demand to know where the source of the radiation leak is.

We then cut over to Firebrand who is crawling out of the sewer system. Suddenly, the voice of talks to Firebrand. (Of course, we know it is the voice of Uncle Sam, but Firebrand doesn’t know that. To him it is just a mysterious disembodied voice.) The disembodied voice tells Firebrand to go to the Mississippi. That there is nothing more he can do in Bludhaven. That he shouldn’t be fighting the government, just the corrupt factions within it. That the fate of Bludhaven has been divided and now he must try to prevent it from spreading to the rest of America. Firebrand is in a state of disbelief. The voice then shows Firebrand an image of what America will be like where it is a land ruled by a single leader and backed by an army of metahuman soldiers. The voice then again tells Firebrand to come to the Mississippi River.

We then shift back to the Titans having regained consciousness and having discovered that Ravager has tortured the S.H.A.D.E. agents for information. All the information that Ravager got was that some guy named Father Time is running some military installation with lots of top-secret protocols and scientists conducting strange experiments. Suddenly, Kid Devil points out Green Lantern battling Major Force in the sky.

We then cut to Major Force laying a beat down on Hal Jordan. Hal then responds by saying that he heard what Major Force did to Alexandra Dewitt. Hal then forms a giant refrigerator and smashes Major Force with it. At this point, Major Victory steps into between the two men and tells Major Force to stand down. Major Force then snaps and tears off Major Victory’s arm and then beats him to death. (Oh man! How many Force of July members have they iced in this mini-series!) The Titans and the rest of the S.H.A.D.E. members stand there stunned. Bigfoot says he thought it was kind of funny. Doll Man and Human Bomb say that they refuse to follow Major Force anymore. Hal and Major Force resume their brawl.

We cut back to the Nuclear Legion and the Atomic Family locking horns with the Atomic Knights. The Atomic Knights blast the roof of the tunnel creating a barrier of rubble between them and the Nuclear Legion.

We then shift back to the street above the tunnel where the Titans are brawling with some of the S.H.A.D.E. agents. Human Bomb, Doll Man and Phantom Lady are refusing to fight the Titans. Suddenly, the ground explodes and out come the Atomic Knights brawling with the Nuclear Legion and the Nuclear Family. End of issue.

The Good: Wow, this was a fast paced and action packed issue! I liked the opening scene. I hope that Monolith will be able to reform himself. He is a pretty interesting character and I’d like to see him with the new Freedom Fighters. Hal Jordan making an appearance was great. Major Force plus a Green Lantern always leads to excitement.

The continuation of this fight with the Titans getting into the mix was a great tool to begin to establish which members of S.H.A.D.E. are going to become Freedom Fighters. Doll Man, Human Bomb and Phantom Lady all refuse to fight the Titans and Green Lantern or to follow Major Force. On the other hand, Replicant and Bigfoot have no problems fighting the Titans and Green Lantern or with following Major Force. This was a good scene to begin to establish the heroic natures of these characters.

The scene with the Nuclear Legion and the Nuclear Family in the Tunnel was just hilarious! That was some excellent dialogue. The Nuclear Family’s dog is the best! Maybe the Freedom Force could adopt him as their ass-kicking and wise-cracking mascot. Seriously, the scene was funny. Especially with Professor Radium contemplating how much money they could make off of a talking dog that doesn’t poop or die.

I liked the scene with Firebrand and Uncle Sam’s disembodied voice. Finally, Uncle Sam makes an appearance of sorts. I can’t wait until we finally see Uncle Sam in the flesh.

Gray and Palmiotti have an excellent feel for all the characters and are doing a great job fleshing out their personalities. Clearly, Doll Man, Phantom Lady and Human Bomb have the makings of heroes. I like Human Bomb more and more with each issue. What a great character with tons of potential. Doll Man is also pretty cool. I like his personality. A little man needs to have some attitude. I also love Major Force in this issue. Gray and Palmiotti have done a great job showing the reader how Major Force is a monster villain.

Battle For Bludhaven has strong writing and good dialogue. The pacing has been great and Gray and Palmiotti have definitely kicked this into high gear with Battle For Bludhaven #5. Gray and Palmiotti are like mad scientists who are feverishly throwing in all of their ingredients into a boiling concoction. I loved having a fight scene that started with Major Force versus Monolith and moved to Major Force versus Green Lantern and then added Major Victory into the mix and then the Titans and then at the very end the Atomic Knight, the Nuclear Legion and the Nuclear Family! Awesome! The final issue of this mini-series should be very exciting and not lacking in action.

The Bad: The art is seriously weak. Gordon Purcell’s art is very old school and quite stiff and unimaginative. It doesn’t give the comic a very interesting look. As a matter of fact, just the art alone is rather boring. Luckily, the story is so great that it makes up for the unimpressive artwork. I can only imagine what an incredible read Battle For Bludhaven would be if it had some nice artwork.

Overall: Battle For Bludhaven has been a blast to read. Gray and Palmiotti have done a fantastic job weaving many different plotlines into an exciting tale and getting me interested in these new characters for the upcoming Freedom Fighters comic book. I recommend this mini-series to anyone. Battle For Bludhaven has been what comic books should be: pure fun.