Team 7 #0: Meet The Pre-Squad Squad
We made a lot of noise in the last Book Report podcast about how it might've been nice if DC had actually started the New 52 with this #0 month that they're doing now. It seems crazy that they underestimated how much fans would want to actually know the new backstories behind all their revamped characters instead of jumping in midstream and trying to parse minutiae into information about what still happened and what didn't. My theory is that DC completely didn't know the answers to that, and they were still in a phase of assuring squirrelly fanfolk that most of their favorite stories still happened so they wouldn't set their building on fire for taking away 75 years of history in one fell swoop. A year into the New 52, however, seems to have clarified this for everybody – pretty much nothing from the old DCU happened anymore, except for Blackest Night and The Killing Joke, and if DC honcho Geoff Johns hadn't written the former and they hadn't already incorporated the latter into Batgirl, they probably would've thrown those out by now as well.
All that aside, Team 7 #0 would seem to illustrate why DC didn't start off the New 52 with #0 issues, as nothing really happens in this book but introductions to the cast of characters – albeit while they're in action. We open with some guy sporting mutton chops talking to a group of floating microchip-lookin' things (basically webcams for mysterious shadowy overlords of some kind or other) in a funky virtual-reality techno-landscape about The Majestic Project (ostensibly referring to the WIldStorm version of Superman known as Mr. Majestic, meaning Mutton Chop Man is going to make an evil, or at least hardline version of Kal-El and everything will suck later). Mutton Chop Man, who I'm gathering is named Lynch and is an ex-DEO operative, spends the issue introducing Team 7 to the Floaties, saying they are a means to make the Majestic Project a reality to help control metahuman threats – and dollars to donuts that gathering up Supes DNA is part of it.
So, here are the people you'll be reading about in Team 7, should you choose to accept that assignment:
Dinah Drake and Kurt Lance: Well, we know Black Canary over in Birds of Prey is Dinah Lance (I assume – I haven't been reading that book), and these would be her parents. This is taking place five years ago, and they seem to be in the prime of their lives as fighting operatives, so it's hard to tell how old they're supposed to be, or if their daughter is in high school at this time or what. They go about recruiting everybody else.
Slade Wilson and Alex Fairchild: This is apparently a pre-Deathstroke Slade, as both of his eyes are intact, and it's implied that weapons-expert Alex is the father of Caitlin Fairchild, formerly of Gen13 and now of The Ravagers. It's a fun bit when Drake and Lance burst in on them in some jerk's employ, play a card from Lynch about some debt owed from something that happened in Uruguay, and Slade and Alex immediately turn on their fellow goons and capture their arms dealer employer.
James Bronson: A rookie who is apparently so crazily driven to succeed that he's earned Lynch's attention, who assumes the guy will be his boss in ten years. And who has something genetically funky going on.
Summer Ramos: "Pilot. Probable Crazy Person."
Cole Cash: The Grifter you know and either love or ignore.
Amanda Waller: Pre-Suicide Squad NSA Analyst and a character who is somehow infinitely less interesting now that she's generic-hot-military-woman instead of a big and burly ex-congresswoman driven by tragedy, anger and brilliance. Seriously, she was the ONE female non-supervillain (even if she occasionally came across that way) that was allowed to not be super-busty model-woman. Even Marvel's Big Bertha was actually a model with the power to become fat. It seems strange to say that a character's weight is at all determined by their literal weight, but there's a surprisingly crucial element of coolness missing from Waller now that she can't really be called "The Wall."
Dean Higgins: A military strategist working with Waller.
You will note that that means there are nine people on Team 7. Go figure. Then, in the final splash page, there are only eight of them, and we're led to assume that Bronson is the guy in the giant robot suit. The art from Jesus Merino is pretty solid, and the story from Justin Jordan is serviceable. It's tricky, though, writing an ongoing series set in the past, as George Perez found out when trying to write a present-day story about Superman without Grant Morrison letting him know what the hell Superman's new origin was going to be as he was writing it in Action Comics. How this series will affect the Deathstroke, Birds of Prey, Grifter and Suicide Squad ongoings is anyone's guess.
Team 7 itself is one of those books that isn't all that interesting on its own, but you know it's going to play a big part in shaping DCnU history so you'll feel compelled to read it just to know what the new deal is. So there you go.