Dive Into the Unknown in The Unexpected #2
Continuing spinning out of Dark Knights: Metal, The Unexpected #2 picks up with a brief tour through Neon the Unknown’s origin. All the while, Onimar Synn and other mysterious forces work against our new heroes. Firebrand and her nth-metal conflict engine continue their spiral into the crazy world of World Forges and soul-devouring Thanagarian devils.
Steve Orlando compels me to like these first two issues of The Unexpected because in certain areas it is so fresh. I enjoy falling into new worlds with new characters and that’s exactly what this series offers. While the beginning of this issue is a bit exposition-heavy, it is pertinent information and it’s over quickly. Most all of The Unexpected #2 squarely focuses on Neon the Unknown and Firebrand and their interaction. Orlando makes good use of this time by giving readers an opportunity to learn certain things about the characters through these interactions, like the limitations of their powers and how they each handle situations. In its spare time, the issue introduces us to a new villain as well as teases connections to various worlds and concepts longtime readers should be familiar with. This real grace of this story is shown in its pacing. Readers never get saddled with a character or plot long enough for it to wear out its welcome. The issue ends on a wonderful cliffhanger, in my opinion.
I’d like to take a moment and gush about how much I love Firebrand, though. As a basic concept, she is one of the most interesting heroes to come along in years. Every panel she’s in, her character commands my full attention and I’m always so down to see her fight something.
Cary Nord continues on art in The Unexpected #2 after taking over from Ryan Sook halfway through the series’ first issue. This isn’t necessarily a knock against Nord’s art, but DC is utterly failing all of its New Age of Heroes books by having every artist (save for Kenneth Rocafort) replaced by the third issue. You can’t market a line on your artistic talent and then not follow through with it.
This issue specifically is a major step up from Nord’s half of the first issue. I won’t say that’s a major compliment, though, as his first half of the last issue was bad. He seems to have had much more time to work on The Unexpected #2. Characters and backgrounds are drawn with much more detail this time around. The reader’s eye flows with the art much better through this issue. He still, however, lacks a really compelling mastery of human form and dynamic movement. His characters often look flat and lack a sense of wonder which this series desperately needs to follow up on the promise of its story.
Jeromy Cox’s colors suit this issue well. His vibrant colors match Nord’s art in a way that heightens the things he’s drawing.
The Unexpected is a concept that I desperately want to love. The first issue was really fun. I enjoy the main characters immensely, especially as we learn more about them in The Unexpected #2. The plot seems to be well paced. It feels as if it’s careening towards a destination. The only issue is, the art can’t carry this story. The things happening in this story are so big and exciting that anything other than the grandest art would weigh it down. It’s hard to feel magic when what is drawn is mediocre.
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