Checkmate #26


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Checkmate #26


  • Words: Bruce Jones
  • Art: Manuel Garcia
  • Inks: Travis Lanham
  • Colors: Santiago Arcas
  • Story Title: Chimera Part One: Opening Move
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: May 21, 2008

The Blackside is up to its old tricks again. Aping ancient Greek Mythology, they create a super soldier from a bunch of spliced genetic material.

Huh. What to say about this book? Well, let me start by thanking Greg Rucka for twenty five issues of solid comics. His run, while not quite Queen and Country, was the best one could expect in a shared metaverse.

Until I get to the art that may be all I have to say good about this book. Oh and this may be a little more spoilery then loyal readers are used to, you’ve been warned! The first problem with this issue is that it is an incomprehensible mess. Jones borrows from intrigue films and sets us globe hopping. The thing is by the end, your head hurts from keeping track and there wasn’t much of a reason for it. Seems there is something going on in the Antarctic that Checkmate feels they need a black Ops agent for. Why they don’t send a team is a mystery. Instead, this seemingly old problem is being taken care of by chance when a soldier in Iraq is found almost dead. They then chimeraize him into their new beast. Whatever.

Then there is the fact that this is a new creative team and all of a sudden the book is less new reader friendly than before. Gone are the roll call pictures in the first few pages. Trust me, these were crucial as Checkmate is one of those books that usually requires a flow chart to follow. Instead, no one is named in the book other than the soldier who is turned into Chimera. Making what was already a hard to follow book even more so.

Finally, to add insult to injury, the story is a derivative rehash. Instead of just straight up giving us Captain America’s origin, we get an updated version of mythology that strongly resembles the saga of Michael Wiseman in CBS’ short lived Now and Again. As little television as I watch, it’s bad when I spot the swipe. I guess all the new and original ideas are truly used.

The one bright spot is the art. Aside from the horrible design of the Chimera creature itself, which resembles some kind of bear clawed Golem on steroids, Garcia does a solid job with pretty standard art. He does an exemplary job for the script that was handed him.

I have feared that this title would be canceled for a very long time. When I heard Rucka was leaving it, I kind of just assumed they would. Now that I have read this, I wish they had.

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