Review by: midwinter

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community think?

Users who reviewed this comic:
Story by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning
Art by Brad Walker, Tom Derenick
Colors by Stephen Downer
Letters by Ed Dukeshire

Size: 32 pages
Price: 3.99

From the Free Comic Book Day issue zero onwards, I’ve been unusually hooked by this title. It’s a futuristic space-y superhero book – a mixture of Legion of Superheroes and Guardians of the Galaxy (which is no surprise as Abnett and Lanning have penned both these titles successfully in the past). It’s set 100 years after a singularity event when an artificial intelligence has assumed omnipotence and established itself as a god-like power known as the Quantum that oversees human civilisation and development. In this society, an on-going team of mutant superheroes (The Hypernaturals) are employed – like the Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy – to deal with crisis and threats to the Quantum-controlled society. Issues 1 and 2 presented the current Hypernatural team confronting an enemy power and disappearing which causes ex-members and unready probationers to go and investigate. This issue follows this up: presenting what happens next as well as a flashback to an earlier incident that gives backstory to the relationship between two of the characters.

What’s impressive about this comic is the rich universe that Abnett and Lanning have created. It’s clever (in the thoughtful way) science fiction. The (presumed) villain of the piece, a character called Sublime, is essentially a human libertarian who – from another point of view – could be seen as a hero in challenging a AI-controlled society. The writers’ characterisation shows skill: there’s the right balance of cliche (retired members being reluctantly called back to service mixed with hot-headed and unprepared youngsters, tensions between two characters who had been romantically involved, the “current” team being wiped out at the start) with some really interesting concepts (particularly the character Thinkwell who seems to write equations in the air out of dark matter ink that then affect reality).

Equally, the art by Brad Walker and Tom Derenick is great. The two artists maintain the same style that makes it virtually impossible to see where Derenick takes over from Walker. I’m reminded of Legion of Superheroes when looking at the pages but have to say that the art of Hypernaturals (plus story) seems much more dynamic and engaging. Plus the glossy paper Boom! uses is lovely.

There’s also other “stuff” in the issue that makes the universe of the comic more vivid: recruitment posters and character interviews (I’d recommend reading the interview with Thinkwell in this issue as it gives some back story that “fleshes out” his character and provides a little more detail about the villain).

My only criticism would be the cover (I’ve got the standard one by Francesco Mattina). I’m guessing that it’s supposed to be of a character called Clone 45 (he’s a bit Wolverine-ish) but it actually looks like Solomon Grundy or some ill-tempered zombie. I realise that Boom! have a style in covers with their new titles (Extermination, Higher Earth) but I think that it’s a potential put-off for new readers.

I can’t recommend this comic more highly. Don’t wait for the trade (which WILL be awesome). Go out there and pick this issue up…

Story: 5 - Excellent
Art: 5 - Excellent

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