The first two issues did well in their reviews. Does issue three continue the trend or start to falter?

General Information

Title: War of Kings #3

Authors: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning

Illustrator(s): Paul Pelletier (pencils), Rick Magyar (inks) and Wil Quintana (colours)

Cover Date: July 2009

Cover Price: $3.99 US

Premise

Vulcan has captured Lilandra, and will execute her after a public trial, demonstrating unusual patience for the sake of avoiding her martyrdom. Gladiator and his remaining Imperial Guard members are assigned to escort her to trial when the Starjammers arrive.

High Point

The second choice is the following exchange:
(Smasher is flying towards the Guardians of the Galaxy at top speed.)
Smasher: Accessing hyper-strength upload from my exospecs.
(Smasher is hit bloodily in the face by a fist at the end of a muscular green arm with a loud WHAM.)
Drax the Destroyer: Accessing fist. (Pelletier’s pencils augment the line beautifully.)
WHAM
Smasher: Ugh!
WHUD
Smasher: Aghh!
WHACK
Smasher: Gpuhh!

The first choice is the final page, about which I’ll only that this is a huge moment for that particular character.

Low Point

The flashback with Ronan seems out of character, at least with his earliest appearances. I’m unaware of intermediate appearances that would explain the change in attitude.

The Scores

The series continues to maintain its original feel. It’s a crossover event that hasn’t slowed down at all until the halfway point, balancing a large cast of characters and still giving them their individual moments. The pacing works well, and reading just the main series works logically despite having actual, important events transpire in the crossover issues. This has implications for all of the cosmic characters, and it’s getting there with a story that hasn’t been told with them before. The allusions to the plans of the Inhumans are similarly unique in the history of those characters. The final page I mention in the high point is also a major example best left unspoiled. I give it 5 out of 6.

The artwork is great. Pelletier sells the characters, right down to making Vulcan look insane, showing Gladiator’s inner tension in his stance but not his stone faced expression, revealing Crystal’s and Ronan’s inner feelings, and depicting some hectic action with extreme clarity. I give it 6 out of 6.

The story moves forward rapidly. The one flashback moment seems a bit out of character as presented, but there’s always a chance that a completely in character deception will reverse that down the road. I give it 5 out of 6.

The characterization, apart from the low point, is great. That’s the one and only moment that seems out of character for a cast of 21 significant characters in the span of 22 pencilled pages. That’s a pretty good track record. I give it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response is excellent. So far the series is 3 for 3, firing on all cylinders and driving the event forward in a fun and compelling fashion. I give it 6 out of 6.

The flow is great as well, forcing the reader to move through at a particular pace, mixing the right amount of comedy, drama and action. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, it’s another strong issue, heartily recommended. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, War of Kings #3 receives 39 out of 42.

War of Kings Checklist