REVIEW: New Challengers #1- A Fun, If Not Muddled Start


What am I talking about this time: New Challengers #1

Written by: Aaron Gillespie, Scott Snyder

Art by: Klaus Janson, Andy Kubert

Cover by: Andy Kubert

Overall Review: 3.5 out of 5 dinosaurs

Is it worth $2.99? Yeah, if you got the cash, it’s a decent read, feels like it will go somewhere

Spoiler Free Review:
I’m not a big Challengers of the Unknown guy, but I can hold my own in a conversation about them, so I wasn’t chomping at the bit to read this book, but I really liked it. The mysteries are set-up well, the characters are well defined, well, some are. The threat seems formidable and the action is good. I wasn’t blown away, but pleasantly surprised. I hope they can keep it up in later issues. If there is one thing that sells this above all else, it’s Janson and Kubert’s insanely wonderful art. Most of the time when art gets weird and crazy it sacrifices coherence and story to execution. But here, the aggressive and weird art serve to underline and support the story. Each page is a delight and gives the comic a boost it would otherwise need to be this solid.

Spoilery Review:

New Challengers begins in a plane over the Himalayas. A mysterious figure who looks like the Unknown Soldier, tosses a dude flying his plane out for not being brave enough to continue flying in a bad storm. This would serve to be a simple stale character point, if the plane didn’t crash anyway, only to have the figure hop out and devilishly smile when an odd looking piece of bone(?) starts glowing “wom wom” style.

Meanwhile in Colorado, a bunch of people are dropped on each other from a portal, all have been seemingly pulled from the jaws of death and all have a mysterious new tattoo.

One in particular, Trina Alverez, seems to the focus of this issue. She’s the only one given a full back story as a Gotham slums doctor who died getting eaten by an alien invasion the Justice League was fighting.

Robert Brink, an agent of Spyral finds himself there after his Op went south. A buff dude and an nerdy black guy named Moses, also show up. As their confusion mounts, a creepy thin guy shows up calling himself “Prof.” He tells them they are the New Challengers of the Unknown and walks them through the hundreds of teams that have come before them. As he passes the classic COTU team he tells them he hopes they will surpass the best team ever. Brink says he doesn’t want to do it and quickly falls though a portal and melts. Suddenly, a woman named Bethany Hopkins falls in, joining the team confusedly.

Bye Brink, I didn’t love you, but you served your purpose, to show that this team has no choice but to do whatever this “Prof” says. They are given their first mission: Locate a small pylon, secure it, and bring it back. They are then dropped in a cube to what seems to be the end of the word… literally, just as a giant crab creature attacks them. From Melting Brink to the crab monster is 5 pages, that’s how fast this comic moves.

In the final pages, we see that the Prof talks to a black wanna-be skeets about how this team’s unconventional nature is what he needs. He is than revealed to be watching 4 screens, none of which have his team on them, but he is also standing before an giant armored dead skeleton. So that’s cool. We finally see he has a piece of the bone from the opening sequence…. And it’s glowing “wom wom”.

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