By Tony Bedard (writer), Claude St. Aubin (artist), Jose Villarrubia (colorist)

The Story: The mercenaries that were humbled by Supergirl and that ended up “donating” Tribulus are broken out of their Antarctic prison by a ship full of Khunds led by a Durlan, looking for Dox. In the meantime, Dox convinces Strata to join him as they head for Malthus to try to reclaim control of the L.E.G.I.O.N. On Malthus, the Omega Men have discovered that their real enemy is Starro. Things are looking real bad for them until they are “rescued” by the psions, who need them to fight Starro’s hordes.

What’s Good: Confused? Surprisingly enough, Bedard did a pretty good job of keeping everything clear, as he left enough room for each plot line to advance. The writing is done almost entirely through crisp dialogue, with a few text-boxes for encyclopedia galactica references. This makes for a fast-paced story that showcases the art.

St. Aubin’s work is fantastic in this issue. It’s detailed, clear, and fine-lined. The faces are expressive, from the furrowed brows to the sudden angers or realizations– whether on humanoid faces or something less recognizable. The starro stars, the clothes, and the skins of all the aliens are textured, down to the wrinkles on the Dominion officers. Oddly enough, what really blew me away was the hair: whether the mohawk on Amon or the stippled brushcut on Dox. The level of detail is just stunning.

What’s Not So Good: Not a lot to complain about. The multiple plot lines were interesting, but having so much going on cost the issue some focus. This is act II, when things are supposed to be at its worst, but it sometimes came across as a bit jumbled.

My only other complaint was with the humor. The first three issues were pretty solidly dramatic, with a bit of irony thrown in here and there and the occasional comic figure. But here, the issue started with gags that didn’t drive the plot or character development. This reduced the level of tension for me. There are lots of ways to do humor wrong, so a few of these side-jokes didn’t fly for me, given the tension of the main plot line.

Conclusion: With a solid issue with fantastic art, I can’t wait to see how Dox pulls this one out of the fire. I will definitely be here for issue #5.

Grade: B

-DS Arsenault