Comic Review: Crime Syndicate #2 (DC Comics)

As Starro ravages Earth, controlling several of the planet’s greatest heroes and villains alike, it’s up to Ultraman, Superwoman, Owlman, and the others to save the earth, or whatever might […]

As Starro ravages Earth, controlling several of the planet’s greatest heroes and villains alike, it’s up to Ultraman, Superwoman, Owlman, and the others to save the earth, or whatever might be left of it.

Will Ultraman and Superwoman put aside their differences? What has Owlman discovered that could turn the tide of the invasion?

This series has no business to be as entertaining as it is, but surprisingly, it is. With other titles such as Suicide Squad already existing, who would have thought that a book about villainous counterparts to iconic heroes would be so fun! Schmidt provides entertainment with every page of this mini-series. What’s very interesting about this book is that this iteration of the Crime Syndicate stands out from their previous iterations. The syndicate has always been villainous and majority of the time never show any side of potential heroism. But with this series, the characters feel more like anti-heroes to some degree. They’re destructive, they’re terrible, but every now and then, they show a glimpse of potential necessary good, despite being terrible beings. Which makes this issue in particular a fun read. As terrible as Owlman is, it’s interesting that we see this version of him that seeks to save the world regardless of his demented methods.

Schmidt writes this story as a cracked mirror version of Justice League: Origin is a great idea, and it makes for an engaging story that in some ways, reminds me of The Authority. Saving the world by any means necessary, even if it means that death and destruction will follow. The motivations for why the characters come together to team up feel more plausible than the previous iterations who would more likely kill each other than team-up. Personally, Superwoman was the most interesting character to follow in this issue. She’s pompous, cocky, hurling insults while backing them up with her fists to prove it. Schmidt provides some great moments that display just how ruthless these characters are, yet despite that, they’re a necessity on their earth to combat against larger threats. True bad meets evil kind of stuff. Much like the previous issue, there is a backup story centered on Owlman that accompanies the book. It’s a little laughable yet understandable why Owlman would end up becoming who he is, seeing the pointlessness of having a code in contrast to his heroic counterpart, and although brief, it’s written pretty well.

For art duties, Kieran Mckeown does a good job at doing layouts, servicing the story with a ton of action pieces. One of the best pages that truly encapsulates the kind of characters that the syndicate are is seen in the battle with Ultraman and Superwoman. Their recklessness as those in their vicinity get caught in the fray is achieved by Mckeown’s pencils and Vines inks, Oliff’s colors, and Leigh’s Letters. As for the backup story, Bryan Hitch contributes the art which is as good as it can be whenever he lends his hand to a story. And given that it’s a short backup, his art shines, especially with Alex Sinclair’s lively colors. It’s a fun mini-series origin story where the bad guys are good by necessity. These characters are terrible people that you can’t help but follow their story to see where they go next as a team or as potential adversaries. This is not a book that anyone would expect to be entertaining nor fun, but Schmidt and company prove that it can be and more. I recommend picking this book up and adding it to your pull list.

Anthony Andujar Jr.

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