Thursday, June 27, 2019



[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

STORY: Scott Snyder and Aaron Gillespie
PENCILS: Andy Kubert
INKS: Klaus Janson
COLORS: Brad Anderson
LETTERS: Deron Bennett
EDITOR: Rebecca Taylor
COVER: Andy Kubert with Brad Anderson
32pp, Color, $2.99 U.S. (July 2018)

Rated “T” for Teen

Challengers of the Unknown created by Jack Kirby

Part 1

DC Comics has launched a new superhero comic book initiative, “The New Age of DC Heroes,” coming out of its Dark Nights: Metal event miniseries.  This line of comic books will consist of eight new comic book series:  The Curse of Brimstone, Damage, The Immortal Men, Sideways, The Silencer, The Terrifics, The Unexpected, and the subject of this review, New Challengers.

New Challengers is the seventh release (with only The Unexpected still due).  The series is written by Scott Snyder and Aaron Gillespie; drawn by Andy Kubert (pencils) and Klaus Janson (inks); colored by Brad Anderson; and lettered by Deron Bennett.  New Challengers is a reboot of the Jack Kirby creation, Challengers of the Unknown.  This feature focused on group of adventurers that first appeared in Showcase #6 (cover dated: February 1957) and appeared off-and-on in various forms and in comic books over the next six decades.

New Challengers #1 takes place during the events depicted in Dark Nights: MetalTrina Alvarez, Robert Brink, Moses Barber, and a man who insists on being called “Krunch” are dead.  Their first post-mortem stop is Challengers Mountain, and now it is time for them to meet the mysterious “Professor,” or as he calls himself, “The Prof.”  He is giving these “misfit strangers” a second chance at life, but only if they obey the orders of the Prof and execute deadly missions in the most unexplored corners of the multiverse.  And before the first mission even begins, one them dies!

I can say that I am intrigued by New Challengers.  I am a fan of artist Andy Kubert and have been for almost three decades, so I tend to want to read any comic book that he draws.  However, although Kubert's pencil art is inked by the great Klaus Janson, this is far from being close to Kubert's best work  The page design is impressive, but the storytelling does not aspire to be anything more than professionally polished.  Brad Anderson covers Kubert-Janson's compositions in his shimmering, evocative colors.  Deron Bennett wrangles the Challengers Mountain worth of dialogue in this first issue with sterling lettering and graphic design.  So that does make things, from a graphical storytelling point of view, a little better.

Writers Scott Snyder and Aaron Gillespie tease as much as they leave things about this story vague.  I thought too much about this first issue was coy.  Would it have killed DC Comics to make all first issues of “New Age” titles double-sized?  New Challengers #1 definitely needs to be at least regular-size and a half.  Twenty pages is a joke; 30 pages would have made this a better first issue.  Honestly, as it is, New Challengers #1 is only a little above average, but I will try the second issue.

6 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

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