28 May, 2006

Review: Checkmate #2


Checkmate #2 - Greg Rucka’s comic book techno-thriller continues, this time with far more intrigue than actual action. Unlike the first issue, which was mostly a set up affair for both the team and the situation they find themselves in, this one concerns itself more with the politics at work behind and within the organization. The government of China has made it clear they want Checkmate disbanded; but why? Well, that’s what Checkmate itself wants to find out, and to do so they’ve mounted a covert ops mission to a secret Chinese facility, in the hopes that they will uncover a secret important enough with which to blackmail the Chinese into renewing their UN charter. We don’t get much more than the very start of the ops mission, but the balance of the issue is taken up with the fascinating labyrinth of power struggles and internal politics at work within Checkmate itself. And this is where Rucka’s writing shines, because it can be very easy for a writer to get bogged down in the details while trying to convey the feel for the politics of the situation. Rucka manages to avoid most of those pitfalls, telling us exactly what we need to know and no more, but still leaving us time to advance the plot and to give us some nice character moments. We learn a lot more about Sasha in this issue (including who she’s sleeping with - JSA fans’, your jaws will drop when you find out), we get a slightly better sense of why Alan Scott has signed on with this organization (although not why he’s suddenly sporting the Nick Fury look), and we get a much better feel for what this organization is and why they continue to exist even after the debacle that was the OMAC Project. All in all, this is definitely one of the better new series to come out of Infinite Crisis, a very good read reminiscent of some of the better Tom Clancy novels. Definitely, a series worth checking out. RATING: 4/5

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