REVIEW: ‘Crime Syndicate,’ Issue #4

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Crime Syndicate #4

Crime Syndicate #4 is published by DC Comics. The writer is Andy Schmidt. Pencils are by Kieran McKeown, and the inker is Dexter Vines. The colorist is Steve Oliff, and the letters are from Rob Leigh. There is a backup story with the same writer and letterer, but Bryan Hitch and Alex Sinclair are the colorist and artist, respectively. 

The people of Earth-3 have discovered that their world is full of metahumans, and dozens of them. Alternate versions of the prime Earth roam this planet but are much eviler than their counterparts. When Starro tried to invade, the Crime Syndicate came together to destroy the alien

Now the world knows these metahumans exist, and things have changed. In Keystone City, Johnny Quick and Atomica become the target of a SWAT team, suspected of dozens of killings. In Coast City, Power Ring is also being hunted as the Air Force attack, the ring on John Stewart’s finger starting to coerce him into doing what it wants. Owlman and Superwoman travel the Ultraman’s base, trying to recruit him to go after the rogue agents. Whilst Alexander Luthor develops plans to oppose the newcomers himself.

The world Schmidt has rebuilt is packed with detail, and the story that he is telling inside it is fascinating. Multiple threads are happening simultaneously as the group has dispersed again, but it is never difficult to follow and keep track of. The pace moves at speed, but it has to in order to move all the pieces at the same time. This world constantly feels different from its counterpart in another dimension and is full of intrigue. Multiple parties now have a vested interest in the Metahumans, with some wanting them destroyed whilst others want to use them for their own deeds. With Quick, Atomica, and Power Ring going rogue, every action they take is unexpected. Every time they are confronted by someone, a sense of dread emerges as the reader doesn’t know what each character will do.

The focus character of Crime Syndicate #4 is Power Ring, this world’s version of Green Lantern. What is evident within this issue is just how powerful John Stewart can be without really trying. He is also one of the most unpredictable, as he is constantly battling the Power Ring in his actions. As seen in his backup story, he wasn’t an entirely good person, to begin with. As the ring drives him to do more, always whispering to him, his actions become truly terrifying inside this comic. Schmidt’s script really is an experiment to depict how scary these power sets can be in the wrong hands.

What is made most clear about nearly all of the characters is how selfish they are. They are all proud and arrogant, but everything they do is to serve their needs. In the main timeline, the superheroes are incredibly selfless, serving people because they feel it is their duty. But the members of the Crime Syndicate all want more power.  The script and dialogue are fantastic at capturing the very individual voices of each character involved in this issue.

McKeown and Vines return to keep up the gorgeous art within this comic. The facial expressions that the artists illustrate do so much to demonstrate the emotions the characters are feeling, but also what the reader feels when they see them. Many of them have large grins on their faces when they commit evil deeds, intimidating or downright terrifying those around them. Superwoman has a scheming smirk when she talks to men, always manipulating them for her own gain. But it might be Power Ring’s face that is the most disturbing. Frequently when the ring is instructing him, he has a calm, almost vacant look. This is scary as it insinuates that he is not in control. 

There are many locations within this issue, yet each one is rich with detail and has its own identity, like the cities of the classic superheroes do. The displays of the characters always radiate power, and there is a grandiosity to the showdowns. It should also be mentioned that Owlman has changed his uniform slightly to adapt to his powers, which is a small but appreciated touch.

The colors are beautiful again from Oliff. The characters’ costumes are mostly still bright and warm, which makes it even darker when they commit despicable acts. There is a huge variance in the shades and tone used, constantly shifting as the setting alters. What does look different is the color of Power Ring’s light. Whilst it captures the light beautifully, there is a sickly nature to its tone.

The letters are effective and mostly easy to read within Crime Syndicate #4. The green used for the word balloons of the actual Green Lantern ring may lead to some readers struggling to decipher it occasionally, however, as the white text blends with the light in the center.

Crime Syndicate #4 is a fantastic addition to the miniseries. Schmidt has made this world his own, the characters within it too. There is a massive amount of depth inside the comic, with a sense of mythology and a wider universe to the story. At the same time, there is intricate detail into the backstories of the major characters involved. The art team continues to be exceptional and capture the spectacle magnificently. 

Crime Syndicate #4 is available wherever comics are sold.


Crime Syndicate #4
4.5

TL;DR

Crime Syndicate #4 is a fantastic addition to the miniseries. Schmidt has made this world his own, the characters within it too. There is a massive amount of depth inside the comic, with a sense of mythology and a wider universe to the story. At the same time, there is intricate detail into the backstories of the major characters involved. The art team continues to be exceptional and capture the spectacle magnificently.