REVIEW: ‘Crime Syndicate,’ Issue #5

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Crime Syndicate #5 - But Why Tho

Crime Syndicate #5 is published by DC Comics. Written by Andy Schmidt. The penciller is Kieran McKeown and Dexter Vines is on inks. The colours are from Steve Oliff and letters by Rob Leigh. The backup story is also written by Schmidt. Art by Bryan Hitch and Alex Sinclair is the colourist. Leigh again on letters.

On Earth-3, a team of brutal metahumans came together to destroy Starro, an alien invader. But they aren’t the only metahumans in this world. Other people, such as Alexander Luthor, are angry at the damage and devastation they cause, exacerbated by Johnny Quick demolishing a bridge. He develops a team to deal with these threats: the Legion of Justice. But Ultraman, Owlman, and Superwoman aren’t going to let him oppose them for long.

Within this issue, Luthor’s Legion homes in on their target. Quick and Atomica are holed up in his old home, a farm in the country. With the likes of Power Ring, Thaal (this universe’s) Sinestro, and many others, the two murderers are outnumbered. But this squad is new and inexperienced. Quick’s horrifying past is revealed, and the trinity is about to get involved.

The plot is terrific, leading this world further and further into a story of its own. With the Starro invasion, the first few issues felt like a mirror image of the real Justice League. But Crime Syndicate #5 could only exist inside Schmidt’s new world that he has built himself. This comic is full of action as the different parties collide, never really relenting until the final page. This is an all-out war between these groups, but the writer keeps it small enough to follow whilst the stakes are high enough that the reader doesn’t get comfy. There is more violence in this issue, but it is unleashed sporadically so it doesn’t lose its power. It is difficult to predict what happens from issue to issue, so the final page twist was certainly unexpected.

The focal character of the issue is Johnny Quick, taking control of the narration and backstory. He has been portrayed as a maniacal murderer throughout the series, and that hasn’t changed much in this comic. But he is given a cruel backstory like the other members of the team, revealing the dark twist on his origin. The Legion of Justice discovers something on his property that makes him sick to their stomachs, which is a unique emotion to see within this medium. Schmidt does well at scripting just how close he and Atomica are. They are almost bound to each other, but even she doesn’t know the true extent of his depravity. It would be nice to know more about how this duo met and developed this bond.

There are many other characters within this issue that are worthy of mention. Ultraman continues to be as repulsive a being as Kryptonianly possible—completely the opposite of his Earth-1 counterpart. He is only tagging along with Owlman and Superwoman because she offered him sex, not for any duty. Power Ring has had the influence of the ring diminished due to the tutelage of Thaal. It is fascinating to see how the characters are being altered and adapted via outside influences.

The art is incredibly yet again. McKeown provides new looks for many metahumans and “heroes” From those we have already seen, the penciler and the inker show off doppelgangers of vixen, Giganta, and Harley Quinn, among others. Johnny Quick always looks menacing and creepy. His topless form is covered in lightning scars. His face is always twisted into a terrifying grin. The artist choreographs the battle superbly, the goriness of a particular panel drawing winces from the bravest of readers. Each impact is felt because the damage is present in a grim but exciting fashion.

The colours are marvelous. Oliff’s use of light is tremendous. When the farm is attacked at first, most of it is in darkness. But when Power Ring and Thaal show up, the glow from the rings on their fingers changes the atmosphere of the scene completely.  The lettering is dynamic and efficient, always easy to read by Leigh.

Crime Syndicate #5 is another incredible addition to the series. The plot is full and action, whilst keep the violence dark and unforgiving at the same time. All of the different characters involved give this world a huge depth, bringing with it personalities and opportunities for battle. Schmidt is exploring their own world now, and the great art by McKeown and Vines is providing special changes to each and every one of them.

Crime Syndicate #5 is available where comics are sold.

Crime Syndicate #5
5

TL;DR

Crime Syndicate #5 is another incredible addition to the series. The plot is full and action, whilst keep the violence dark and unforgiving at the same time. All of the different characters involved give this world a huge depth, bringing with it personalities and opportunities for battle. Schmidt is exploring their own world now, and the great art by McKeown and Vines is providing special changes to each and every one of them.