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Review of The Twelve 3 (4 stars) March 13, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews.
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Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This was an interesting issue, as it continued to explore the characters, and showed everyone, at least once, what was happening with them. Instead of going through the story from beginning to end, I’m going to look at each of the characters. That is because this is what this issue (and this series) is about: the Twelve and how they are adapting to modern life, and (in some cases) modern superheroism. When we first see the Phantom Reporter, he is still at a loss of what to do with his new life. He has no powers, so he doesn’t feel he can add to the modern world of crime fighting, his writing skills are sixty plus years out of date, and the only woman he is interested in happens to be extremely creepy, and potentially lethal (but oh so beautifully forlorn, that I understand his feelings). His life does improve slightly by the end of the issue, as he is offered a job writing editorials for the Daily Bugle.

We only see Rockman for one panel this issue, and he is exactly where we left him last time: pitifully hoping for his “long lost civilization” to find him. Fiery Mask, however, we see a good deal of, and we also get his origin story. This story involving zombies and a mad scientist may sound cheesy now, but it sounds exactly like something that might be pulled from the 40s (I’m not sure if this is his real origin story, or if JMS made it up, but either way, it fits well for the character). He also interferes in a gang fight outside of the bar he’s in. This interference remains unresolved, and I’m assuming we’ll see what happens in the next issue. We also see the Witness at the bar with Fiery Mask, though we still as yet have little insight to his character because, as he admits, he “does not speak often.”

Master Mind Excello appears to be going through near torture as all the EM waves we have bouncing around today are interfering with his advanced brain. I’m beginning to wonder if he may be the Blue Blade’s killer, since he is no longer able to see his destiny, it may drive him insane (just a guess 😉 ).

We see that Captain Wonder is still at the cemetery mourning. Mister E is the real heart of this issue, and serves as the tragic counterbalance to Captain Wonder from last issue. Where Cap had a wonderful home life, and returned to find that he had lost it all, we learn that Mister E was not the best father, and was willing to desert his true self to become what he wanted to be. He also has to deal with this as he re-meets the wife and son he left sixty years prior. More kudos to Straczynski for showing more of the differences between the 40s and today. Last issue we learned the Dynamic Man was racist, and we saw how that affected him, and this issue we learn that Mister E was Jewish, and was ashamed of it, and tried to hide it amidst the abundant anti-Semitic feelings of the 40s.

As mentioned earlier, Black Widow is still as beautifully sad as she has been since waking in the present, and we find out that she collects souls for some as yet unnamed demon. While this is likely the source of her depression, I’m hoping we may get a look into what prompted her to make a deal with a devil, and maybe (probably the romantic in me) I hope we see Phantom Reporter heroically helping her to get out of this servitude.

We get evidence in this issue that Laughing Mask may not be completely together in his head, as he talks about the good old days to Electro (still not functioning), right before he goes off to do something that prompts much laughing on his part. Once again, I believe we will see exactly what he does next issue.

Blue Blade and Dynamic Man seem to be the ones who love the present the most. Blue Blade is in contact with an agent, and can’t wait to be famous for what he is, a man from the past, and a hero. Dynamic Man seems to be only in the here and now, with no care for the past, and no thought for his future. He seems to only want to be a superhero. Is this nobility, or insanity on his part? Time will tell…..

So once again, we get great writing and characterization from Straczynski. Some people may complain that there has been no action yet, and that it has been focused completely on the characters. One, the characters are so darned interesting, and so well written, that I enjoy reading about them. Two, with the mini cliffhangers with Fiery Mask and Laughing Mask, I don’t think we’ll have to wait much longer for some action…..

Please leave comments!

-LOTRKing

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