Review: ‘Commanders In Crisis’ #5 Displays The Human Side Of Heroes

by James Ferguson

Overview

A quieter chapter unfolds as the Crisis Command figures out its next move. They’ll have to move fast as the fate of the world and the multiverse hangs in the balance. This series adds more compelling ideas to the often tired super hero genre.

Overall
7/10
7/10

With Empathy dead and the fate of the world and the multiverse at stake, the Crisis Command is in ruins. Frontier has kept something from the team which has split it up when it’s needed most. Where do they go next?

Commanders in Crisis moves at a lightning speed as it’s establishing an entirely unique super hero universe while also developing new characters and throwing them into a crisis level event. It’s a lot to take in. This chapter continues to flesh out this world with a bit of history and further insight into the heroes of Crisis Command.

There’s quite a lot of exposition to sift through, but it’s all fascinating. Writer Steve Orlando lays out one interesting idea after another. Think of some of the crazy and jaw-dropping moments you’ve seen in super hero comics over the years. Now imagine them all happening in the span of a week. While this presents a ton of information, letterer Fabio Amelia keeps this moving at a nice pace so the text never feels like it’s too much.

A great example of this comes during a visit to the Hindsite, a prison where inmates are kept one day in the past. This is an absolutely brilliant idea. I love how colorist Francesca Carotenuto, joined by Chiara Di Francia, Nicolo Laporini, and Manuel A. Puppo, show this, with the characters appearing in a red haze to signify their time-displaced forms.

Where this doesn’t work in the book’s favor is with the cliffhanger ending. Under other circumstances, it might pack a punch, but since we don’t have the history of this world or these characters just yet, something that should be a startling revelation falls flat. It’s like that scene in Guardians of the Galaxy where Peter Quill introduces himself as Star-Lord and the other guy stops and says “…Who?”

Commanders in Crisis #5 also shows us the human side for some of the characters, including their relationships when they’re not in costume. This helps to further develop them, allowing us to invest in their lives. It’s often a side of super heroes that is either forgotten altogether or served as an afterthought so it’s refreshing to see it as such a major aspect here. It’s something that definitely helps this book stand apart from others in the genre.

Much of this human element shines through in Davide Tinto’s incredible artwork. The characters show so much emotion so it’s easy to read them and relate to them. More importantly, they look natural. They’re not overly expressive and definitely not in weird proportions. They look like real people even with their amazing abilities. This is shown well with Frontier, who bookends this issue. You can sense the pain and anguish radiating off her as she struggles to figure out what to do next.

With all the ground it’s covered so far, it’s remarkable that Commanders in Crisis is only five issues deep. The creative team continues to build up this fascinating universe of heroes, turning tropes of this genre on their head to tell a new and interesting story. It is a lot to take in at times though, so the momentum can be a little off, but it more than makes up for it with great character work and compelling ideas.

Commanders in Crisis #5 from Image Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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