The Immortal Men #1 – James Tynion IV, Writer; Jim Lee, Ryan Benjamin, Pencillers; Scott Williams, Richard Friend, Inkers; Alex Sinclair, Colorist
Ray – 7.5/10
Corrina: Not Quite There
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: The Immortal Men #1, one of the more direct follow-ups to events in Dark Nights: Metal, was one of the first announced in what was then called Dark Matter and was one of the most hyped due to its A-list creative team.
Unfortunately, it’s been troubled waters ever since, as the issue was massively delayed, and announced artist Jim Lee didn’t even complete the first issue, with Ryan Benjamin stepping on to finish the rest of the pages. So how is the comic overall? Well, it’s got things to like, but it’s also a very busy comic that feels more like a classic Wildstorm title in places than a modern DC book. The point of view character is Caden Park, an Asian-American teenager with a problem with recurring nightmares. It’s always the same thing – being pursued by mysterious, superpowered individuals, and running to a place called The Campus, a school for people with extraordinary powers. His parents and therapist try to convince him that it’s all a dream, but if it was, we wouldn’t have a series, now would we?
Caden’s a likable lead, although elements of his story are similar to Derek from Sideways, and Derek seems less shell-shocked by his life getting weird. However, Caden has to share his title with the titular Immortal Men, divided into two clans. One evil group of hunters is hunting their fellow immortals, led by the evil Immortal Woman, who seems to have taken out her brother. The other side is carrying on after the loss of their leader, but for a mythic team of ancient warriors, they come off more like C-list 90s X-Men. You’ve got the cowboy with electric powers, the werewolf, the mysterious masked hero, the native heroine with the ax, etc. The addition of The Batman Who Laughs as a chaotic evil ally for Immortal Woman doesn’t really serve a purpose, except to boost sales. The issue has a distinct horror vibe, with a strong cliffhanger, but there’s a lot of mythology in this first issue, and it’s going to be a while before we learn if this title can pull its ideas together into a compelling whole.
Corrina: Upfront: Immortal characters are my jam. I once went on a search for all appearances of Backlash, a Wildstorm character, because his thing was being a three-thousand-year-old immortal warrior. I even tried the New 52 title, Resurrection Man, but, alas, I quickly gave up on that because of quality issues.
So I was primed to love this comic even if the quality was only so-so but even with those low expectations, I’m not certain what to think. There are some intriguing concepts: a school for Immortals, Caden’s dreams/nightmares, Caden’s parents being concerned about him, and the two teams of immortals seeking to help or kill Caden.
Except the execution mostly falls flat. Aside from the mysterious masked hero (who is also one of my favorite superhero types), the design of these characters is something out of a 90s Xtreme book and, more than that, they do nothing to distinguish themselves, coming across as the cliches that Ray talks about. Adding in the Batman-Who-Laughs, my least favorite DC character of the last decade (okay, maybe tied with Jason, brother of Wonder Woman), was not a plus for me.
If I was buying this off the rack, I’d probably stick with it another issue or two, to see what happens because I did want to love it and I know first issues can be where the rough edges of concepts are smoothed out.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.