By: Justin Jordan (story), Ron Frenz (breakdowns), Jesús Merino (pencils), Marlo Alquiza, Drew Geraci, José Marzan Jr. (inks), Nathan Eyring (colors)

The Story: Everyone takes a fall sometimes, but only a few do it from five miles up.

The Review: Ever since T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents and Blackhawks got canned, I haven’t felt a DC title that projected the same kind of panache Nick Spencer and Mike Costa brought to their respective series, a quality you might describe as “smart.”  Unlike Scott Snyder’s literary intelligence and Grant Morrison’s conceptual genius, Spencer and Costa had a knack for plots and characters that can confront the mechanics of the real world and deal with them practically.

Jordan has a similar talent, and Team Seven certainly feels like the spiritual successor to both those titles.  Set in a world with a nascent superhuman population, the story plays into every conspiracy theory you’ve ever had about big government.  Lynch lays out the team’s mission with a motivation so nationalistic and ruthless that it can only be credible:

“The first country to tame their metahumans is going to make a quantum leap forward in the world.  The first one to make them is going to rule it.  I can only accept one contender for that.  Us.

If Jordan succeeds where Spencer and Costa didn’t, you can only chalk the difference to the cast of characters he gets to work with.  His predecessors had a rougher road in that sense, since they had to generate enthusiasm out of thin air for unfamiliar brands casted with unknown characters.  Here, Jordan has staples from both DC and Wildstorm properties that will draw a larger audience than the series probably would have done otherwise.

The mix of characters from the two publishers represents probably the first real attempt to make them feel like part of a cohesive universe, although natural divisions arise.  Each character brings their own voice and energy to the team, though you can group them this way: Alex and Cole doing it for kicks, Bronson and Ramos for the challenge, Waller and Higgins out of duty, Kurt and Dinah out of nobility, and Slade as the dark horse among them.

With that kind of tension, the plot almost becomes secondary to the issue.  What begins as a straightforward investigation into a radio-silent prison quickly turns screwy once folks start showing up with a very familiar circular shadow on one side of their faces.  Unfortunately, a lot of time gets eaten up at the front end by a bit too much exposition, leaving the meat of the action till nearly the last minute, and resulting in a “debut” that doesn’t have as much punch as you’d want from this kind of title.

This marks the first time I’ve encountered a “breakdowns” credit on a title, and it gives me some pause.  Overall, the art on the issue is inoffensive and workmanlike, shouldering Jordan’s dialogue heavy script acceptably, but without much worth remarking on.  Stronger, more inspired artists have made the most even of talking-heads, but even the action in the issue feels pedestrian.  Likely, the blame falls on both Frenz’s unimpressive blocking choices and Merino’s style of art, which is pleasant but entirely lacking in danger or edginess.

Conclusion: The reintroduction of the characters seems tiresome and unnecessary given we went through all that last issue, and some more dynamic art is sorely needed.

Grade: B-

– Minhquan Nguyen

Some Musings: – After this issue, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Kurt Lance was not meant to be long for this world.

– And here I thought that in this universe, Cole didn’t first wear his trademark mask until Grifter #1.

– Wasn’t Steve Trevor supposed to be on this team, too?