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DC Universe Presents brings us what could possibly be the most entertaining color themed team-up in the DC Universe since Blue Beetle and Booster Gold – Black and Blue! Black Lightning and Blue Devil make their long-awaited debut into New 52 continuity with DC Universe Presents #13. How did it turn out?
After all was said and done it was a fairly well crafted introduction to the two characters. The genesis for this partnership has been rumored to be due to the contextual funniness in having a team dubbed “Black and Blue”, a novel idea in retrospect and it did bode well for the story when it was announced. What was shown within the pages of this month’s issue did their best not just to live up to those expectations but to exceed them, and it did. For an arc that is to last the next few months it started off with aplomb.
The writing was a solid effort on Marc Andreyko’s part. For a mostly humorous story it was not only able to elicit a few chuckles here and there but also a fit dramatic/suspenseful tone when needed. There was perhaps a scene or two that could have used some polishing or just didn’t feel quite right, but nothing too bad that it was distracting and could take the reader out of the story. Our heroes, Black Lightning and Blue Devil of course, are set-up enjoyably and competantly. We see that this is a learning experience for both them and for new/old readers, given the reboot. Other than that there is also interesting insight given for their personal lives and troubles that is sure to be expanded upon as their adventure heads underway.
The interplay between the two characters is a bit too brief in this introductory issue, but is definitely a highlight. Their interaction at the beginning is great and serves as an establishing moment for the both of them. Black Lightning comes off as the more serious and focused of the two while Blue Devil seems prone to quips and freneticism. Both, however, have a inherent sense of heroism. This story has the potential to be the equivalent of a superpowered buddy-cop movie, and that is not a bad thing. Make no mistake though, our heroes are going to be put through the wringer – a taste of which was given at the end.
The art was also one of the positives of this month’s issue. It’s expressive while also retaining a sense of cartoonish fluidity. A perfect fit for the tone, which is always essential. A frequent complaint that has been rolling around, and not without cause, concerns the redesign for Blue Devil. Many felt that it was a worsening of his look, but they can at least feel a bit tempered now that we can finally read the story and see exactly what everything looks like. While the cover might leave a lot to desire concerning Blue Devil’s outfit penciller Robson Rocha does the design a lot of good within the comic itself.
Overall it was a fun issue. They were able to bring back two characters in a way that could please both older fans and new readers, which is the entire point of DC Universe Presents. There might have been a few hiccups, but it was an enjoyable ride. This story arc started off on the right foot and personally I can’t wait to see how things unfold for Black and Blue as their story continues.