After the events of the first issue, the premise of Halcyon is already beginning to pay off. With all (or at least most) of the crime and human conflict ended through some mysterious means, the plot zooms in on super team Halcyon a month after the fact. What does a superhero do when there’s no human threat, no villain to fight? The opening of the book almost makes it a neurotic issue, with the team’s super speedster moving non-stop, nearly killing himself trying to take on natural disasters and accidents. Zenith, their super woman is actually relieved at being free of the burden of heroism, and having the chance to revel in her powers. And on and on it goes.
This dramatic change in the world is most troubling for the story’s Batman analog, Sabre, who—Rorschach-like—remains convinced that there’s a conspiracy at the bottom of it all. He lacks the impulse for violence and this troubles him deeply. His investigation leads him on the path of a troubled psychic superhero and one suspects that it’s possible he won’t like what he finds at the end of that trail. It’s a curious insight into Sabre’s personality that he’s not troubled about needing the violent impulse back.
It’s not clear at this point where the story intends to go based on this issue. Again, it seems to be paying off the setup of the first issue, realizing the ramifications of a world without the violent instinct (in humans, at least—we’re helpfully informed that animals remain animals). Marc Guggenheim and Tara Butters keep enough action going on in the background with Sabre’s subplot so that it doesn’t feel like the wheels are spinning one issue in. It’s clear that there’s a paranoid concept behind it all, and whatever is behind the current wave of peace likely doesn’t have peaceful intentions.
The one area where the book lacks is in any specific characterization for its heroes, and aside from scenes with Zenith and Sabre the script speeds through encounters with the heroes so quickly that you could almost miss them. I’d suggest that the one danger of creating a Justice League analogue is allowing that to carry most of the weight of characterization. But again, there’s still the possibility of fleshing them out a bit more down the line.
Ryan Bodenheim’s work here is as strong as it was last issue, with the carefully rendered and detailed characters allowing room for slight stylization. Mark Englert’s colors remain strong, most notably in a red-tinged scene involving Sabre’s interrogation of a crook in a seedy room.