WRITER: Fred Van Lente
PENCILS: Wellington Alves
ART: Pere Perez
INKS: Nelson Pereira
COLORS: Bruno Hang
LETTERS: VC's Clayton Cowles
COVER: Mike Perkins & Dan Brown
RELEASE DATE: March 23rd, 2011
It is a true rarity when every aspect of a book comes together in perfect unison. Rarer still is when they converge on a mini series, especially a mini series starring a second tier lead character with a newly created partner. But Van Lente, Alves and the rest of the crew are stepping out with their best foot forward, creating a fresh, exciting tale that proves you don't need to have big names to drive a book -- just a great story!
Issue three opens with Danny Rand and Victor Alvarez venturing to Twilight Idol, an undersea - invitation only - auction of the macabre, in order to find out who really killed Crime-Buster. While there, our heroes are separated, manipulated and ultimately outwitted by Pokerface -- a character with an actual fire poker smashed through his face! It is a twisted tale full of high octane action, mystery, intrigue and a shocking ending that leaves you wondering if it is true or just another card to be played from the hand of Pokerface.
Van Lente has created a book that hits upon every aspect that is needed to make a great story click -- action, characterization, intrigue and above all fun! It is one thing to write a serious book, one that propels comics passed the moniker of "funny books," but is another to not take oneself too seriously. That is why this book works so well. It has the seriousness of Danny Rand and his wizened teacher role played against the street-savvy, ambitious, cocky Victor Alvarez and it makes for the perfect amalgam of ideas. These are heroes that come across as "real," making the time the reader spends with them all the more precious -- especially because we only have five issues to make a connection to these characters, not just the heroes, but the villains as well.
And what villains they are!! From the European assassin troupe, the Commedia Dell'Morte, to Pokerface and his horde of homeless men that have been tortured into becoming his "Wildcards," we are bombarded by some of the most creepily insane characters I have ever see. Alves and Perez out do themselves in creating these grotesque beings and have made them truly terrifying when they could have come across as hokey if handled by a lesser creative team. They have set a disturbing mood every time these characters appear, one that is a complete contrast to when our heroes are center stage, and it is brilliant!
This is the biggest "mini" without all the hype and promotion that others bombard you with. It is the little book that could and you owe it to yourself to check it out before it comes to an end. There is no bigger compliment for a book than to close the last page with a smile on your face. I have done it with every issue Fred Van Lente has put out and I'm sure I will with everything else he has in store for us!