Story Tellers Cary Nord & Steve Orlando
Inks Wade Von Grawbadger
Colors Jeromy Cox
Letters Carlos M Mangual
Cover Ryan Sook
When I first decided to read this new series, I truly had no idea what I was getting myself into or what to expect. But after reading through issue one, I was intrigued enough at where this story and its new fresh characters were going. I wanted to learn more about them, what motivates them, and how the journey will push them forward.
In issue one we learned that the book focuses around a woman named Janet Fals, a paramedic who mentions surviving the crime syndicate, the black lanterns, and both Darkseid invasions. But sadly for Janet, the events of Dark Nights Metal would take her life when her ambulance was attacked and kill her in the explosion. Janet’s father released her remains to civil solutions, a futurist arms developer, where they experiment on Janet’s body, giving her destructive fire powers.
Civil solutions also gave a new heart called the conflict engine which we learn is made of nth metal. The only catch to stay alive is Janet must feed the engine with violence every 24 hours, or she will die. Janet goes on to escape civil solutions and fight the scum of Gotham as an antihero calling herself Firebrand.
Book two in the series focus’s more on learning about Firebrands new companion, a mysterious man named Colin Nomi aka Neon the unknown. He is a celebrity artist who had it all until his ideas dried up, and he ran out of inspiration which caused Colin’s career and worth to wither. Colin then decided to turn to the dark rites in an attempt to change his fortune, but that would prove to be beyond his control and his apartment exploded.
Colin was then sent briefly to the world forge from Dark Nights Metal where he was shown the source of all creation which lit a fire inside of Colin that changed him. Colin lost his sight but also gained the power to bend mortal materials at his will like oils on a canvas. Where Firebrands power is based on destruction, Neon’s powers are based on that of the world forge, the power of creation. Unfortunately for Neon, that too came at a price. As he returned from the world forge, he found his followers dead, and now his goal is to balance the price he payed for his new gifts. Neon does this by helping new unexpected allies who also seek redemption themselves, and that’s what led him to Firebrand.
In this issue the story telling team of Cary Nord & Steve Orlando do a great job of moving things along at a good pace and I liked how they picked a familiar foe to be the main villain of the series. Onimar Synn who was originally created pre new 52 by David S. Goyer, Geoff Johns and Stephen Sadowski in 2001 in JSA #23. Onimar Synn is an enemy of Kendra Saunders and Hawkman, who is the most feared of the 7 devils of Thanagar. Onimar was most recently seen ruling Thanagar with Starro in Dark Nights Metal when Hal Jordan and Mr Terrific traveled to Thanagar.
Speaking of Dark Nights Metal and Hawkman, Kendra Saunders lore, I think that this series is best read if you have read Dark Nights Metal and Hawkman as those are the stories this series bases most of its ideas and concepts on. For those who’ve read JSA in the early 2000’s you will have an idea of who Onimar Synn is, and what we could expect from him.
I think there’s enough creative ideas going on here to make this series a fun read, and I like how the two main characters seem to balance each other in a yin and yang fashion. Firebrand, A woman who died while saving others lives who was brought back to life with new powers based in destruction. Neon the unknown, a man who had everything until he lost it all and tried to force it back. That ended up costing himself more pain but also gifted him new powers based on creation and a new purpose to help those who seek redemption.
Ultimately I’m intrigued by this story enough that I want to see where it’s going as a series. I like how they’re using some of the fun, wacky and way out there concepts from Dark Nights Metal in a new way. I think the artwork throughout the book is very well done: consistent and doesn’t abuse the use of splash panels.
Where I did enjoy the character concepts, I think their designs could use a bit of a tweak, though I also think they could grow on me over time. One of my favorite parts in this issue is the surprise cameo from one of the original challengers of the unknown who had a robot dressed up like the boy wonder.
I would give The Unexpected #2 a 7 out of 10 Hawkman maces on the Thanagarian claw of Horus scale of rating comics.
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