Task Force Z #9: Who’s got the leash?
There’s something to be said for the “fun factor” of some comics.
Some are fun because they are light-hearted, have smiling characters, and are quite adventurous – these are usually joyful journeys. Task Force Z turns that idea on its head by being fun and absolutely terrifying, disturbing and gruesome all at once thanks to the irreverent writing of Matthew Rosenberg. With the team consisting mostly of the reanimated corpses of Gotham’s worst such as Bane, Solomon Grundy, KGBeast, and Victor Zsasz among others, Rosenberg finds a way to make each of them charming in a deadly way, as their ruthless violence is amplified. by their zombie-like nature and needs to be tempered by a weary Jason Todd and a mildly reformed Harvey Dent. At the same time, they oppose the monstrous Mr. Bloom and his twisted experiments, trying to bring the dead completely back to life… or horribly mutilated like when he kept Kirk Langstrom’s head untransformed, unlike his body. Man-Bat in the previous one. publish.
Throughout this book, things are kept darkly comical. With Bloom masking his underlying terror with passive, normal work humor as if he weren’t a stalk like flower monster. And Jason Todd regularly jokes about the absolute horror he’s a part of, pointing out the many pitfalls and misadventures he and his team find themselves in – as well as, more often than not, failing to rein in his team when their murderous tendencies take hold. the top. While I generally prefer a serious Jason, Rosenberg manages to make this book’s non-serious style work while sprinkling a bit of pathos into the story, such as when Jason initially refuses to work with Black Mask to keep his team safe. . a little moment.
Of course, good writing can only take a book so far; it takes a skilled and talented artist to take a book from decent to absolutely fantastic and Eddy Barrows is that artist. Barrows is the absolute perfect choice when it comes to pulling off the horror aesthetic of this book, as everything except the living characters is just a little off in order to make readers feel uncomfortable. . Zombies have a swerve when moving to convey their mostly limited agility; they look heavily desiccated, allowing their veins to be seen clearly, recognizing that the only thing keeping them alive is the Lazarus resin flowing through their vascular systems; and some of them even seem slightly decomposed, like KGBeast which doesn’t even have lips anymore.
It’s not just looks that Barrows excels at, it’s panel-to-panel action too. Quiet scenes are given standard square/rectangular shapes and flat planes to show things are relatively still, but when the action kicks in there are a variety of overhead views and angled/Dutch angled panels. The characters seem fast with blurry movements and the attacks seem brutal because of the characters involved. There’s an amazing page when a character from previous issues, Sundowner, returns with a splash page as the background and foreground is just his destruction of Task Force Z. That alone is worth the price of this book.
And what would Barrows be without the rest of his team in inker Eber Ferreira and colorist Adriano Lucas? Ferreira absolutely sells the tone of the book with his heavy inks, making the whole thing feel like a horror movie with the thickness and oppression of the shadows, the definition of the character outlines and the depth of the ‘work. It’s extremely unsettling and helps sell readers just how dangerous this team is through lighting while making sure they absolutely get off the page.
Adriano Lucas helps elevate the art and inks further by contrasting darkness with very bright and vibrant colors throughout. With all things Lazarus Resin, there’s an unnaturally bright green glow seen through many characters’ eyes to emphasize what’s keeping them alive. Many characters use harsh reds, like Red Hood’s with his helmet and Bane’s mask eyes, but the best example has to be the demon Sundowner becomes. These help them appear distinct in the shadows and in the case of Sundowner, help Lucas express the danger she poses as her pages are awash in color.
In contrast, there are several scenes with Mr. Bloom and Kirk Langstrom that give them a nice, cool blue tone. These indicate the cold and calculated nature with which Bloom manipulated everyone around him for his own nefarious means. The color also gives things a sense of calm unease in contrast to the tense and frantic nature of the zombie team pages.