So, after all the praise heaped upon The All-New Atom in my Fell review yesterday, I sat down to read the last issue of Gail Simone’s run on TA-NA. Last issues of runs can be kind of difficult, I admit. There’s an inevitable sense of finality, but you don’t end the story as a whole, merely one arc of it. She did it quite well in her last Birds of Prey arc. Sadly, it fell rather short of my expectations in The All-New Atom #20.
Now, that’s not to say it’s bad. It’s far from bad. Like every issue, the dialogue tends to be humorous, witty, and deliciously quotable, but this issue is just too damn busy. There’s a ton of stuff happening on every page – and I do mean a ton. You’ll go from a food fight to a giant monster bash to a enormous super-villain monologue and back ’round the bend, and while it’s fun, it’s also, at times, bordering on incoherent. In a way, it’s a fitting ode to the rest of her series: the arcane oddness that infused every single arc is here in full force, and fan-favorites return. But the rest of the series also had a strong brain behind the giant heart of the series, and that brain seems to have taken off the restraints for this one.
The All-New Atom has a great supporting cast, and it’s used well here, though not enough. And that’s the problem with the whole issue – it seems like two issues worth of material was crammed in their with three issues worth of stuff and only a single issue worth of story. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t live up to the normally high standard of Gail Simone’s work, especially not her run on The All-New Atom.
Ultimately, it’s not a bad end to Gail’s run, it’s just not a great one. If you read any of the rest of the series and enjoyed it, pick this up. It’s got the same brand of bizarre humor and smart action as any other issue of the book. You’ll enjoy it, in the end, even if you don’t particularly remember it afterwards.