Counter-Ops

 COUO   (Antarctic, 2003)

™ and © Antarctic Press

In a world of international uncertainty, it seems that the one thing governments agree on is the need for more SWAT teams. So NATO has created a new anti-terrorist squad with the code name Joint Task Force 3, where five special operatives take a bite out of global crime.

We meet them, as heavily armed terrorists are taking hostages downtown. Young and attractive Ritsuko Konoe is among the frightened businesspeople but doesn’t lose her cool, as she plays head games with her captors. Told in retrospect, the agency’s post-mortem on their first case is a public-relations nightmare. Why would Ritsuko shoot an unarmed hostage in the head to precipitate the police’s slaughter of the bad guys?

The anime-inspired art is strikingly good for a first effort. However, the plot’s foundation is cracked by poor fact checking (Montreal, not the capital Ottawa, is Canada’s largest city) and a repulsively impossible plot twist. The blind devotion of rendering blazing guns seems a poor excuse for such bad taste.

— Oliver Chin

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