By: Ross Richie (creator), Carey Malloy (writer), Scott Godlewski (art), Stephen Downer (colors) & Brett Weldele

Story: A group of U.S. government codebreakers try to stop the bad guys while dealing with the threat to one of their own.

What’s Good: The creators do a nice job of establishing this team of codebreakers.  We’ve got the brilliant/precocious guy, the geeky/attractive girl, the crusty old man and the mid-career veteran leader.  It may be a little cliche, but I think this is a stereotypical team for a reason: because it creates good drama.  It’s a classic setup where you can’t help but like how they gave each person on the team a complimentary specialty.

The story starts slow, but really picks up towards the ends when [minor spoiler alert] one of the team members goes missing in an apparent suicide.  Things really improve a lot as they show the leader of the team deciphering that it wasn’t a suicide, but an abduction made to look like a suicide.  [cue dramatic music]

This is an espionage book and the art is appropriate: it’s solid and helps the story but doesn’t shoot for flashy.  It helps that each team member has a very unique look, so the art never gets confusing which could be a problem for a book where everyone is talking about codes.

What’s Not So Good: This book started out really slow.  I came very close to putting it down before things picked up about halfway through and from there, it was okay.  This is a book that might have benefited from non-linear storytelling.  A new title from a smaller publisher like Boom really needs to make more of an effort to grab the reader.

I also have a slight concern about where the plot is going.  I’m not going to be happy if the kidnapped team member is enlisted by the bad guys to attack the rest of the team (with the two sides sending messages back and forth in code so that the bad guys can’t see). And there better not be a mole within the team!

Conclusion: This wasn’t a bad book, but it was a little unremarkable. I’ll tune in next month and see how the story has progressed.

Grade: C

-Dean Stell

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