By: Art Baltazar & Franco (story), Ig Guara (pencils), J.P. Mayer (inks), Wil Quintana (colors)
The Story: Deathstroke refuses to be part of a buddy-idiot comedy.
The Review: I had a pal once who fancied himself an entrepreneur. He had no scientific or business experience whatsoever—he was a fellow English teacher at the time—so he was often coming up with things that stood little chance of ever coming into existence, like a combination sprinkler/pesticide system for home use. At the same time, he had so much love and enthusiasm for his own ideas that you couldn’t help feeling charmed by him.
That’s kind of the feeling you get from The Green Team, which at its heart is patently ridiculous (I mean, teen trillionaires—really), but so committed to its hyperbolic premise that it does end up pretty enjoyable. While the idea of J.P. and Cecilia ordering crates of sparkling water to bathe in sounds silly-stupid, the idea of Commodore instant-purchasing a hotel and having it airlifted away by technicians in alien masks to save his girlfriend from bad press (and promote her latest alien abduction film) is silly-funny/clever. When money is no object, this is exactly the kind of craziness it should be spent on.
You can also approve of our characters becoming objects of humor in themselves. Seeing Deathstroke play straight man to the impulsive (read: idiotic) antics of Commodore and Mo (who dons a poetically yellow cape over his business attire) does pack quite of bit of entertainment value. For someone who cuts such a deadly figure, having to work with a bunch of spoiled kids who have no idea what they’re doing (see Commodore talking on his cell phone during a firefight) must be a kind of torture, especially if he has to refrain from killing them, too.
Given that the strongest parts of the issue are when the action gets so chaotic that the characters don’t have enough time to act pampered—lest, you know, they end up dying from it—in a way, Baltazar-Franco have made you impatient to see the Green Team in official operation. It’s the best distraction from all the insipid material our writers try to pass off as drama. You don’t know Mo (or his father) nearly enough to care about the tensions in their relationship, and that goes the same for the farce that is Commodore, J.P., and Cecilia’s love triangle.
At some point, Baltazar-Franco will have to devote a lot of effort to fleshing out the cast beyond the bare outlines they are right now. At this point, even J.P., the most centered and accessible member of the Green Team, doesn’t strike you as all that sympathetic. There’s no rule that you have to like or respect a character, especially in serial fiction, right off the bat. For this series, we can get by if the wannabe-superhero stuff is lively and interesting enough, and Baltazar-Franco do show some signs of cleverness in their conception of Riot, the Green Team’s first antagonist. In the long term, however, the cast’s shallowness can be an anathema to the title’s long-term success.
To bring out the comedy of a series like this, the characters need a certain looseness and flexibility, as if they can bounce back from any disaster which strikes them (see Mo crashing on his butt from Deathstroke’s zipline). At the same time, Guara adds just enough detailing to ground them in the real world. He reminds you a lot of Diógenes Neves, which is not a bad thing at all. Quintana’s colors are light on Guara’s delicate linework, and so warm that you always get a pleasant image on the page.
Conclusion: While it’s slowly making a better case for its existence, there’s still too little here to say that it’s found a breakthrough just yet.
– Minhquan Nguyen
Some Musings: – I love that as Commodore fumes over Deathstroke using him and his friends as bait, he’s especially fixated on the matter of location. “Why the hell did we have to come all the way to Monaco? You could have sold us out anywhere!”