Luncheon meats have an ungodly level of sodium in them… I mean 4 slices of salami is over 40% daily intake, three slices of ham are about a third of daily intake. Outrageous! I can’t believe I never noticed this before. Subway may advertise how low-fat their subs are, but what are the sodium stats on their sandwiches? Jesus 1300mg in a 6″ ham without cheese. Oi.
Finally! Berry season is upon us. Fresh local blueberries, fresh local raspberries, and soon, fresh local strawberries, for less than $2 per container. Yum!
Right now I’m feasting on Raspberries and Blueberries, eating them with cereal, and on their own… and together… I like stuffing a blueberry inside a raspberry, and when the strawberries are big enough, i’ll stuff a blueberry inside a raspberry inside a strawberry… I call it a straspblurry… it’s like a turducken, but with fruit!)
There was a time where comic-book terrorists were an easily disposed of threat, ones which didn’t so much as inspire fear as instead present themselves as nuisances with their grand schemes of utterly impossible world domination. They were laughable, sometimes bumblingly comedic. Cobra. Hydra. Kobra. These days, however, with the divide between rich and poor extending beyond local neighbourhoods into global reaches, terrorists use religion and money, exacerbating the truth behind various governments/religions involvement in their social climate, to recruit followers and divide humanity against themselves. Why? They state for religious reasons, but even still it invariably it all comes back to the leadership, who want little more than power and control. How these organizations operate, how they recruit and execute, fund, proliferate, succeed and fail is frightening and fascinating, and for comics to represent their terrorist organizations in anything but a serious light these days makes for unrealistic and unapproachable reading. Through our stories we should try to find understanding. To dismiss them would be a failure.
A few months back, in Faces of Evil: Kobra, writer Ivan Brandon presented a new, far scarier Kobra than ever before, one with a growing legion of Kali Yuga fanatics, better organized, more cunning and tactical ready to move forward with their plan. With Checkmate already established as the DCU’s global protection agency, it would have been the appropriate storyline to carry over into its own series, if it hadn’t already been cancelled. Instead, Eric Trautmann (Greg Rucka’s co-writer on later issues of Checkmate) has taken up the story in JSA vs. Kobra, a rather uninspiring title, but don’t let that fool you.
Trautmann picks up where FOE:Kobra left off, and also picks up some post-Final Crisis and post-Checkmate pieces, centering the story over Mr. Terrific, who has senior ties in both JSA and Checkmate. The “third-smartest man in the world” and his super-team are made deadly aware of Kobra’s existence as a suicide bomber sets himself off in front of their headquarters. The JSA convene to look into the threat they’re facing, only the overt attacks Kobra is perpetrating are ruses, pawn sacrifices in a larger, more tactical plan. It’s immediately evident that the JSA, for all their power is out of their depth. They’re used to handling overt, physical threats, but that’s not what they’re facing. With Mr. Terrific’s espionage career colliding with his superheroic one, he has to wonder if his teammates’ ethics may get in the way of effectively sussing out and neutralizing their opponent.
Story wise, the first issue is all set-up, and it’s as great as superheroes vs. terrorists can get without getting all cartoony about it. Trautmann handles the JSA team dynamics with ease, and he most definitely gets the intensity level of the chess match which has just begun. Don Kramer is a workhorse artist, he powers through any script he’s delivered and does so consistently. I’ve often found his figures and faces to be stiff and they are at times again here, but inter Michael Babinski loosens them up somewhat and cleans up completely the details while also managing some terrific shadow work.
This will be an under-the-radar series for some, amidst the hype of a new Batman, the Black Lanterns and the returns of Barry Allen and Superboy, but it’s absolutely worth paying attention to if you’re keen on something a bit more subtle and meatier in your superheroes.