There’s no denying the fact that putting the Justice League in towering mechs reminiscent of them is cool Neon Genesis Evangelion or Mobile Suit Gundam. It’s a fun concept on the surface, but in the last four issues of Direct Current: Mech, the cracks in the armor are beginning to show. release this week, Direct Current: Mech No. 5 continues the series’ trend of being an enjoyable, if somewhat forgotten, read.
Direct Current: Mech is an origin story for this world’s Justice League, the Justice Squadron, coming together in their building-sized mechs to stop an imminent invasion by Darkseid and the forces of Apokolips… who are also in mechs. Writer Kenny Porter and artist Baldemar Rivas want to give us some of that exciting robot-on-robot combat, which unfortunately means some other areas are missing.
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The story has felt shallow so far and is filled with classic tropes from team building stories. The series is aimed at a younger audience, with the simple message that collaboration is always a better choice. The story is simple, leaving plenty of room for Baldemar’s kinetic action scenes to take over, and as in previous installments, Direct Current: Mech #5 is filled to the brim with them and not much substance.
Issue #5 is the Green Lanterns issue. Hal and John take center stage in their green mech they pilot together. They undoubtedly have one of the coolest concepts in the series, with John controlling the ring that powers the suit and Hal piloting it. It’s a nice game on the Pacific Rim-like drifting of two pilots. Both pilots are struggling to find a balance in their partnership and it’s an interesting idea, albeit a bit rushed. What’s missing is the weight of those story moments.
Expenses rush from one beat to the next, almost like skipping through a YouTube video. It’s not so much that the characters’ choices or story beats don’t make sense; it just feels like there’s no time to breathe when they happen. Issue #5 has a specific moment where the emotional punch is lost as the characters move around two panels after the reveal.
Baldemar continues to create fun and exciting battle scenes for our mechanized heroes. Issue #5 is mostly about space, which means we’re losing the sense of scale we saw as the robots walked through towns and farms. However, the fight between Green Lantern and Kalibak is as compelling as ever. Also a big thanks to Mike Spicer for bringing the darkness of space to life with color and energy. The artwork continues to be the highlight of the series; The impact is only lost in the scenes outside of the mechs.
Balancing action and story can be difficult, especially when it comes to the coolness of having Batman pilot a Bat-Mech. But the eagerness to see more action limits the story as a whole. The story continues and the scenes outside of the mechs seem to be there to bring the character back into the mechs. In issue #3, the Green Lanterns tell Superman that he is a reckless endangerment to the team, only to make a similar decision in issue #5.
My biggest problem with Direct Current: Mech is that I wish there was more time to explore this exciting world that Porter has created. Direct Current: Mech #5 highlights the series’ main problem: It’s a fun action book and not much else. The series remains a fun concept and an enjoyable series overall. Unfortunately, the surface level story keeps this alternate universe story from ever rising to the heights of the towering mechs in the panels.
‘DC: Mech’ #5: Flashback
DC: Mech #5
Packed with fun mecha-robot action but without the substance outside of the machines, DC: Mech continues to be style over substance.
Funny mech action, ideal for young readers
An interesting and unique alternate DC universe
Emotional moments are undermined by the fast pace
Surface-level character moments
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