Monday, May 11, 2009

The Unknown #1 (of 4) – A Review

The Unknown #1

Publisher BOOM Studios

Release Date May 13

Writer Mark Waid

Art Minck Oosterveer

Colors Fellipe Martins

You know what I have noticed lately, Mark Waid is having fun. It seems like Mark is at the top of his game in many ways. I know he has been omnipresent on the internet with interviews, webcast, 15 Minutes with Waid, The Waid forum, writing Spider-Man, a Top Cow project and once he was rumored to be coming onto Superman when the James Robinson dust up occurred at DC. Then he is the Editor-in-Chief at Boom and is writing arguably his best work every in Irredeemable, but is also doing Incredibles, Potter’s Field and this book The Unknown. It just seem likes Mark is in a zone right now and exuding self confidence. I think it is a natural progression in your life that when you get a little older you know what you can do and you know what you are good at. That comfort level can allow you to have fun doing what ever you do and that usually translates to better work.

The Unknown is a reflection of what I’m seeing with Mark. Irredeemable is a tough act to follow and Mark does not even try, this is a totally different kind of book, but it reads great. From page one to the end of the book I never lost interest and when I'm reading a PDF copy on the computer I’m almost always distracted and looking for a break as it is not as comfortable reading at my desk on a screen as it is in the nice reading chair I have in my living room.

The pace on this book is relentless as we start out with our main character Catherine (Cat) Allingham waking up in her bedroom and seeing what almost appears to be Frankenstein’s monster or some guy who looks like a fresh corpse and obviously dead. That vision disappears. Cat is called into a crime scene and quickly solves what appears to be a suicide and points out the killer in short order. After that she meets a person she hires as an aide to camp to help her on a new case that involves locked rooms and quantum physics and the measuring of souls. Along the way we find out she is dying from an inoperable tumor that is causing what appears to be her hallucination of the dead man. In summarizing the plot points I’m not doing it justice because the book flows like a white water rapid and you are just hanging on for the ride. Cat is an engaging character whose self confidence borders on arrogance, yet you immediately are intrigued and like the character.

The art work is excellent and I’m unfamiliar with the “international superstar” Minck Oosterveer, but the man knows how to draw a comic and do it well. He has wonderful page layouts with some great angles and unique shots. The comic flows nicely and enhances the pace that Mark wrote. I have heard that hands are one the hardest things to draw (as proven by the Luna brothers) by Minck can draw hands and uses that ability to great effect. I would love to see him draw Dr. Strange as only Ditko ever brought the flair to Dr. Strange’s hands and Minck could do it.

The book has a noir quality to it, a Sherlock Holmes air to it and it all becomes uniquely its own thing. This is another winner from BOOM, not the same type of book as Irredeemable, but a winner in its own class.
Overall Grade - A – A fast paced adventure that starts at page one and leaves you looking for page 1 in issue #2.

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