Part one of “Murder on the Empire Express” opens with Ollie, Dinah and Diggle racing to get onto the Empire Express, a train on the trans-pacific railway between Shanghai and Seattle. Many high profile diplomats were onboard and security was high. Diggle found a mercenary on the train and told Ollie. Dinah got dressed into more formal attire and was scooped up by the speaker of the night, Mr. Mustafa. The assassin gave him poison and Dinah tried to save him as Ollie shot him with an arrow. The assassin escapes in a blackout as the security guards surround our heroes, confusing them for the assassin.
This issue was basically set up, the first half of the first act. It really flew by and not in a good way. I started reading this series because of all the good things I heard, but the last two issues have been sort of disappointing. There needed to be a little more build up to the murder and we miss probably an awesome fight scene between the assassin and Diggle. I like the Dinah part, but not really the rock band mention. That’s one thing I wish Rebirth would change. Ollie was barely in it, but yet becomes a focal point at the end.
I’m not sure how many issues this story will run, but something tells me it’ll be one of those seven issue arcs. I did enjoy the art by Juan Ferreyra. Benjamin Percy’s writing has sort of fell flat for me after being top notch back in issue 8. Maybe he just can’t keep up with the bi-monthly schedule. I’ll stick with it for now, but it needs to even out the pace and add more detail to the story. I will score it at 75%.