Comic Book Review: Battle For Bludhaven #3

Battle For Bludhaven has been a huge favorite here at the Revolution. I have been pleasantly surprised by this title. I only picked it up just out of curiosity. I certainly was not expecting much. And, man, was I ever amazed. Battle for Bludhaven is better than a low rider full of hot chicas! I fully expect Battle for Bludhaven #3 to keep the ball rolling.

Creative Team
Writer: 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: This issue starts with the Atomic Knights amazed by their discover that the government has been using Captain Atom to power their machinery in their secret meta-human lab. Unfortunately, the Atomic Knights have been detected in the lab and don’t have time to try and free Captain Atom. Instead they must flee and come back later for him. During their escape, one of the meta-humans in the lab records the Atomic Knights. He comments that their armor is non-terrestrial in origin.

We then cut to Firebrand who is still trying to rally the people against the government. Firebrand decides that he is going through the soldiers and is going to go over the wall into Bludhaven. Suddenly, Robin takes out Firebrand preventing him from doing anything. The Titans are officially on the scene. (Cue dramatic pose shot.)

Robin tells Firebrand that he is being reckless and is endangering people. Firebrand accuses the Titans of sitting around and doing nothing while the Government oppresses the people of Bludhaven. Firebrand blah blahs about Civil Liberties and secret Government programs. The refugees outside the wall begin to rally around Firebrand agreeing with his political diatribe. Firebrand continues that the government is using Bludhaven for a testing ground for something and that they should find out what it is.

We then shift over to the Black Baron’s headquarters at Rabe Hospital in Bludhaven. A refugee begs Black Baron to give him medicine for his diabetic wife in turn for jewelry he found in an abandoned jewelry store. The Black Baron’s two white ho’s give a little speech about how the Black Baron used to be a pimp and drug dealer before the bomb and now he is the New Jesus and “Everybody better respect that fact!” (Word, yo!) The Black Baron tells the man that diabetes is a genetic flaw and in the new world of Bludhaven there is no room for the weak and they must remain genetically strong. The man snaps on Black Baron calling him a twisted bastard. The Black Baron then disintegrates the man with energy blasts from his eyes.

We shift back to the Atomic Knights’ secret base under Bludhaven. Gardner Grayle is talking to Dr. Connor. Dr. Connor tells Grayle that after reviewing the data that Captain Atom is in some type of coma. Also, that the meta-human that recorded the Atomic Knights leaving the lab is extra-dimensional, part machine and part organic. It did not come from the same place that Captain Atom came from. Dr. Connor tells Grayle that his precognitive visions are becoming reality. Grayle then orders a team to be ready to capture Captain Atom.

We then cut to the swamplands outside Bludhaven where the Titans, Firebrand and Monolith are trying to sneak into Bludhaven. They come across some refugees living in a crashed airplane outside the airport. The refugees tell the Titans to leave because the refugees think that the Titans are simply government meta-humans like Freedom’s Ring sent to round the refugees up. The refugees say that they will not end up lab rats for the government. Firebrand then turns to Robin and asks if he believes him now.

We then shift over to Father Time in the government’s secret lab. A scientist tells Father Time that the inert brain matter they have had in a tube of liquid is now active. We watch as the brain matter goes through various stages of mitosis and turns into a humanoid figure. It steps out of the tube. It has the power to monitor the brain waves of everyone within a hundred-mile radius. It says that Father Time’s goal of an orderly society based on a single power structure is a goal that it, being an entity that embodies such a philosophy, understands. Therefore, it will aid Father Time in his efforts. It can track down the Atomic Knights. It says that there are 125 Atomic Knights operating in Bludhaven. Father Time then tells the entity that he has been revitalizing the names of dead heroes to make their presence easier for the public to consume. Father Time asks what they shall call this new being. It says that it will remain out of the public eye and it shall be called “Replicant.” Replicant then tells Father Time that his team is very close to an Atomic Knight intelligence post.

We then cut over to S.H.A.D.E. Replicant talks to them telepathically informing them of the Atomic Knights’ base with twenty individuals in it located in the ship next to the team. Major Force rips open the hull of the ship and it’s official! We have a braaaaawwl! S.H.A.D.E. throws down with the Atomic Knights. The Human Bomb tears off a piece of his fingernail and flicks it at the Atomic Knights and blows them all to smithereens in a huge explosion. His teammates react in horror calling him a walking nuclear bomb. They call him a freak and tell him to stay away from him. Phantom Lady questions “How the hell did I end up on this team?” (Good question.) S.H.A.D.E. did manage to capture one of the Atomic Knights who they take with them for interrogation.

We go back over to Father Time and Replicant. Replicant tells Father Time that there are 15 Atomic Knight approaching the lab with the intention of taking Captain Atom. Father Time rushes outside of the lab to engage the Knights. Father Time tells Replicant to contact S.H.A.D.E. to get back here immediately. We then get a one page splash shot of Father Time rolling up his sleeves saying “I’ll hold them off as long as I can.” End of issue.

The Good: Once again, Gray and Palmiotti deliver the goods! This series just keeps getting better and better with each issue.

I like the storyline of Captain Atom being used to power some mysterious machinery for the government over the past year since Infinite Crisis #7. It appears that Captain Atom is the power source for the government to create all of their meta-humans. Interesting.

It is also intriguing that the meta-human who recorded the Atomic Knights escaping is of a different dimension. And it isn’t the same dimension that Captain Atom came from. Could this character possibly be from an alternate earth stemming from Infinite Crisis? Again, I’m curious to see where they go with this storyline.

The Titans have now been slowly worked into the mix. Initially, they are suspicious of Firebrand’s claims of government conspiracies. Yet, when they come across the refugees in the airplane it is obvious that Firebrand is on to something. The Titans realizing what is going on is going to get them actively involved in this fight. I like that the Titans are slowly being brought into this storyline. This gives a chance for the other characters to shine rather than this simply being a Teen Titans mini-series.

The Black Baron is a total freak, and I like him! A pimp/drug dealer turned to a religious cult leader worshipped as a new Jesus. I can dig that. He is obviously off his rocker and I’m interested to see how he adds into the mix of the various competing forces converging on Bludhaven.

And just because things weren’t already crazy enough, Gray and Palmiotti kick it up another notch by introducing Replicant to the cast of colorful characters. Replicant is a powerful weapon for Father Time enabling him to finally be able to track down the Atomic Knights. Plus, we learn that there are 125 Atomic Knights in Bludhaven! That is way more than I expected. I think that Replicant is an intriguing character and I can’t wait to learn more about his background.

The fight between S.H.A.D.E. and the Atomic Knights was cool. I love the scene with the Human Bomb taking out everyone with a little piece of his fingernail. It emphasized his massive power and created even more tension on this team. I like how his teammates are now afraid of him and don’t want to even stand near him. It adds, yet another layer of mistrust between the members of S.H.A.D.E. that will eventually lead to their downfall and the rise of the new Freedom Fighters.

Lastly, I loved the ending of this issue. Father Time looked bad assed rolling up his sleeves and getting ready to brawl with 15 Atomic Knights. It reminded me of another character. Yeah, you know who I’m talking about: Uncle Sam. I have thought from the start that Father Time looks very similar to Uncle Sam. And now seeing Father Time doing the trademark Uncle Sam move of rolling up his sleeves before a fight convinces me that there is a connection between the two characters. I don’t know if Father Time is an evil twin of Uncle Sam or if they are actually the same character. Or maybe the government used this new cloning meta-human technology to make a brand new Uncle Sam and called him Father Time. I can’t wait to see if there is a connection or if I’m totally wrong about this.

Gray and Palmiotti delivered yet another great issue. Their pace is perfect. Not too fast and not too slow. They manage to throw more surprises and bombs with each issue. And they hint at new mysteries with each issue. It is incredible. This is one of the more exciting mini-series that I have read.

The art is solid. It isn’t spectacular and has a decidedly “old school” look to it.

The Bad: I think that the art could be a little better. Some panels look nice and others look very average. It this title had more consistent and stronger art then it would be an amazing read.

I have no complaints at all with the writing. This is a very entertaining story. Battle For Bludhaven is definitely worth your hard earned money.