Written by Steve Orlando
Pencils Cary Nord and Ryan Sook
Inks by Mark Farmer, Cary Nord, Ryan Sook, and Wade von Grawbadger
Colored by Jeromy Cox, FCO Plascencia, and Dave Stewart
In this newest chapter of the new age of heroes, we join Neon the unknown and Firebrand as they learn more about the mysterious nth metal isotope, discover an ancient treasure trove, and have their first encounter with series big bad, Onimar Synn. So before diving too deep into the play by play of events that happen in this issue, my initial thoughts are a mixed bag of feelings. On one hand, I like how this series is weaving into the events of Dark Nights Metal and Hawkman lore. On the other hand, I’m unsure how this series is going to keep traction the further we get away from those events – that this series holds its roots so strongly onto. It’s almost like its greatest gift could be its greatest curse but only time will tell what we can expect.
As the series continues to grow and expand, so does the relationship between Neon and Firebrand, and despite a moment where Neon lashed out in anger, these two seem to be clicking together and figuring out each other’s strength while covering for their weaknesses.
Neon is blind, and so he needs Firebrand’s sight to better understand what they are investigating. Although Neon is blind, he is able to sense things beyond what lays before the naked eye, which aids him and Firebrand throughout their journey.
The cover art, which features Neon fighting Onimar Synn, is the best I’ve ever seen of either character drawn so far. It seems like there was an extra level of detail put into the art which makes sense as the cover is what helps sell the book and is even more important with a new series like this. I feel like there’s a plot clue left for us in the cover art as well, as on Neon’s hand we see a symbol as he uses his powers of creation to restore order. When we look at Onimar’s hand, we see a wound on his palm that Onimar uses to devour souls in his destructive conquest to stay alive as he withers away. These two seem to be set up as true opposites. Neon is a source of creation, and Onimar is a being of destruction. So I’m wondering the outcome when these forces fully collide.
The artwork in this issue can be very inconsistent at times as in some panels there’s an overall lack of detail to both the characters attire and even less detail on their faces. The most jarring to me being the panel when Neon and Firebrand step through a portal into Monster Valley as it made Firebrand look unrecognizable. Despite the few pages where things were a bit off, there are plenty of beautiful artistic standouts as well. The range of expressions on June’s face and the detail that went into her hair and her blue eyes were favorites of mine early on. Later in the issue, the clear artistic standout would be the bright colored and trippy art during the fight between Neon and Onimar as it really captures the magic of Neon’s powers.
Ultimately after learning more about Onimar Synn’s motivations, as well as seeing the surprise and much welcomed entrance of a guest character, I do feel like there’s still enough here that makes me want to finish out the arc before deciding my ultimate take on the series as a whole
As for this book and the rest of New Age of Heroes books, I’m still uncertain what the final fate will be for these characters and their overall impact on the greater DC Comics landscape which will fall into obscurity or might become an unexpected breakout success. Only time will tell, but that’s a chapter for another day.
I give The Unexpected #3 a 5 out of 10
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