Comic Book Review: Checkmate #4

Checkmate has done nothing to keep it off my pull list, but its pacing had done little to help it stay on. Things change…

Creative Team
Writer: Greg Rucka
Art: Jesus Saiz
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We pick things up with the Operation team on the ground in China, at the site of China’s brand new metahuman creating facility. The Checkmate team, out of radio contact with its organization, quickly finds itself in a standoff with a part of the Great Ten, China’s premier superteam. While their adversary waits for orders on whether to fight Checkmate or not, Baron Vertigo sneaks off to steal the secrets at the site.

Back at Checkmate HQ, Sentinel finds out that Waller killed her would-be assassin in cold blood. Disgusted, and just having found out what Vertigo is up to, Sentinel rushes off to handle things his way.

Vertigo is discovered, and re-ignites the conflict, and only a last minute save by Sentinel keeps the two sided from annihilating each other. They all gather outside the facility and Sentinel uses his ring to find the Kobra traitor working at the facility. In turn, the Chinese Ambassador that Sentinel (Alan Scott, Green Lantern) brought with him agrees to back Checkmate in the UN, rescinding the veto that would have shut them down.

Alan, however, has ruined Wallers ( and presumably the US government’s) chances of proving what that facility was doing, and at the UN Meeting to confirm Checkmate’s status, he is vetoed out of his position by the US.

The Good: What you don’t read in the synopsis above is how smoothly this comic reads. It is adventurous, funny, dramatic, cool, and unexpected, depending on the panel. It seems like the first three issues were like the beginning of a roller coaster, that slow ratcheting up to the top of the hill, and this issue was all high speed, stomach in your throat drop. The politics of the situation is handled well, without sticking out.

The art serves the story well, and while it is not my personal favorite, stylistically, it captures the tone and mood of the story, and I haven’t the “August General in Iron” look any cooler.

The Bad: I would have like to actually have seen the blush on Sasha’s face on that panel near the end. I appreciate economy of lines in art, but it overall feels a little sparse. (Of course, as a non-artist, I WISH I could draw as well as Jesus Saiz does.. Its all a matter of style and personal taste ).

Overall: As long as the writing keeps up this pace, Checkmate is on my pull. It is certainly off any probation period. If the subject material sounds interesting to you, the crafter of this book are doing excellent work. Enjoy!