This is an exhausting read thanks to writer Brian Michael Bendis’ overly complicated and slowly paced dialogue.
Superman has a face to face with Mark Shaw, Green Arrow and The Question somehow have a jokey conversation about Merlyn shooting Question with an arrow while Shaw interrogates Lois Lane. Bendis relishes writing in riddles and the discussion about the Snowman’s Ticket doesn’t come off like an intriguing mystery. Instead it’s just another confusing element in a story full of them with bad characterization and a frustrating direction.
Bendis keeps thinking his dialogue is cute, but it sounds silly. Conversations like “I promise you all this here and now, the new world order will not have algorithms,” “Next time you’re recruiting you should lead with that” reads like a writer completely satisfied with his scripts.
Alex Maleev’s art is solid. Bendis doesn’t offer much action scenes so Maleev has to give extended conversations a more dramatic slant.
Checkmate is now at the halfway point and still feels like a vanity project for a story readers have been given little incentive to care about.
Rating: 2 out of 10