WITH NO HINT OF MALICE
As per the events of the first issue, The Movement had not only rescued Burden, they’ve also conducted a “citizen’s arrest” of officers Pena and Whitt, all of whom are taken to The Movement’s secret underground base, known as The Sweatshop, which is part-superhero HQ, part-teen homeless shelter, and now part-prison. After filling us in on the horrific history of the Sweatshop, the officers are locked in a cage. While Pena seems suitably repentant for his actions (or perhaps he’s just scared), Whitt remains defiant. We’re also introduced to a new member of the team, a girl in wheelchair, calling herself Vengeance Moth (gotta love the names Simone comes up with), whose powers, if any, aren’t revealed in this issue.
We get more familiar with the characters, as they meet to discuss what to do with the officers, and internal conflicts arise. Katharsis, the resident “conservative” of the group, wants to beat the crap out of them to send a message to the police, she also suspects that Tremor is a traitor, accusing her of leaking information of the group to the press (which Tremor denies). We learn that Mouse regards his army of mice as his family, with almost unnatural closeness. And newest member Burden is still feeling sorry for himself, believing him to be possessed by the devil.
Virtue tries to keep a level-head about things, which leads to an argument between her and Katharsis, who decides to go off on her on, in search of the Cornea Killer. These leads her to contact James Cannon, who appears to be the Lex Luthor of Coral City, a wealthy developer with the police and local government in his pocket. Right from the very first page he appears on it is immediately apparent that he is a sleazy character. First Katharsis must face Cannon’s two bodyguards, and then a squad of police in riot gear. Even Katharsis’ impressive martial arts skills may not be enough for her to get out of this. Meanwhile, Virtue has taken Mouse, Tremor, and Burden on the hunt for someone known as “the Weather Witch”, to see if she’s connected to the Cornea Killer. The team find themselves ambushed, and the so-called witch turns out to be a familiar face (well, familiar to those well-versed in pre-52 continuity)
Another great issue, we get a little more insight into the motivations of the characters, as well as the team dynamics. And the dramatic moments are balanced by the action scenes, where Freddie Williams II is able to cut loose and show off his style. Plot-wise, Simone is subtly raising the stakes, giving us a feel for the odds that are stacked against the team. Highly recommended.