February 22, 2012

Challenging the Unknown - A Review of DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS # 6

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for some of the "lesser known" characters and concepts from the Silver Age of Comics.

Much like the later Golden Age (many books available via download at the Digital Comic Museum), there's the right mix of smarts and adolescent, pulpy fun. So you would think that in "the new 52", DC might be willing to apply some modern-day smarts to a classic franchise.

In DC Universe Presents # 6, we're presented with a rebooted Challengers of the Unknown, a group of reality show contestants who find themselves living on borrowed time.

It's also...not very good.

In fairness, the art by Jerry Ordway is great, but the writing - by Dan Didio - leaves a lot to be considered.

Much of it reads like bad fan fiction - a mashup of various sources (including past DC continuity) thrown together that, at its best, should read like a high-tech version of Indiana Jones, or even an old-fashioned version of Leverage. Here, however, things just seem to hang - none of the characters really has anything to hook into, and even though it's your basic "origin" plot....there's really nothing here to make one care about these Challengers.

(On a side note - I really wish Didio would get over his fascination with Kirby. The OMAC obsession was starting to get a little obnoxious, but he seems to have pulled back....but to dive into another Kirby creation with a similar approach seems a little reckless)

This book might have benefited from either some better editing and/or another pass through the word processor. It's not horrible, just slightly unreadable. Of course, the benefit of an anthology book is that it allows for greater risk taking.

Personally, I think Didio should take up the challenge and push this series further into the unknown....if only to insure that no readers are lost because of this arc.

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