So, this week, while I was picking my newly released comics and realizing that all I had was Action Comics Annual #1 (which I've already talked about), I figured that I'd give something else a go. In the end I thought "you know, Black Lightning was such a cool character before the reboot" and given that he'd just appeared in the newest issue of DC Universe Presents I decided, what the hell, it might be worth a look.
Issue 13 introduced two classic characters to the new DCU, the aforementioned Black Lightning as well as the somewhat unknown (to me) Blue Devil, who were both working (seperately) to take down the Los Angeles drug trade run by villianous businessman Tobias Whale (Who is, it seems, a classic supervillain. I'm learning all kinds of things with this book). After the story's initial bust,and their subsequent meeting of each other (and yes, there was a superhero smack down), the story then focuses on the heroes private lives and their interactions with their respective father figures. Meanwhile, the angry Whale turns his forces towards finding these pesky heroes and taking them out (and that's NOT dinner and a movie) to prevent them interfering in his business.
To be honest, this is a story I've read/seen/heard a thousand times before (I'm sure it's also the plot for the original Lethal Weapon movie, only without powers and stuff) and it isn't made any more compelling now than any of those other times. Marc Andreyko does a solid job of portraying these two characters as two sides of the same coin; Blue Devil being a very Peter Parker-esque type of hero, while Black Lightning is more the serious, no-nonsense kind of heroics. In fact, the highlight of this is shown during when the two square up at the beginning, with Black Lightning eager to fight and Blue Devil trying his best to talk his way out of this. This is a refreshing take on the superhero team-up fights that have been flogged to death over time.
The art also doesn't improve the impact of this book, which is a bit of a shame because Robson Rocha's work is actually really good., with gorgeous panels that can't be faulted and are enhanced by the vibrant lines and colours Oclair Albert and Gabe Eltaeb bring to the table. Unfortunately, this is the same style I feel like I've seen in dozens of DC books, and maybe hundreds of titles within the medium, which really reduces the impact it has on me. There's nothing wrong with the work and it ticks the boxes as good art should, but I just wish it looked a little different to convention.
All in all, I don't think this is a bad book, but that's it. I found myself intrigued as to what happens next for this dynamic duo, but not enough to warrant spending hard earned that I don't really have. Maybe I'll be tempted back, but when you're on a budget you don't want just an ok book taking up what little you have to spend, you want a great book to know you've invested your cash. It pains me to say it, but I suspect there's greater books to invest my dosh on.