The Immortal Men #2 – James Tynion IV, Writer; Ryan Benjamin, Penciller; Richard Friend, Inker; David Baron, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
Corrina: Lots of Backstory
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Immortal Men #2 welcomes on Ryan Benjamin as its new permanent artist (Jim Lee only managed part of the first issue) and also fills us in a little bit more on its mythology-heavy backstory. The concept of an ancient war among immortals that is upended by the arrival of a “young immortal” who both sides want to get their hands on is decent, and lead Caden Park is a compelling everyman. However, the story surrounding him still mostly feels like a refugee from the 1990s. The last issue we only saw the characters in brief flashes, but this issue finally gives them a little bit of a backstory. I quite like Reload, the cloaked gunman who can fire the same bullet from his gun hundreds of times. His backstory as a coal miner is also fairly intriguing, but I’m not sure he makes it out of the issue, as the final segment is a bit unclear. Native American heroine Timber and the spectral Ghost Fist have hints of a backstory, but their characterization is mostly limited to “badass”.
Then there’s Stray, who seems to be that most 1990s of tropes – the random savage team member who attacks everything in sight. While these characters are the leads, the most heroic character in the book actually seemed to be Caden’s bodyguard. The arrival of the Immortal Man himself, presumed dead, hints at more backstory for next issue, but the series’ biggest problem so far seems to be its villains. The Infinite Woman and her minions The Hunt and the Kill are over-the-top caricatures of comic book villains, and The Kill, in particular, brings in a heavy overdose of dark-and-edgy storytelling with what he does at the end of the issue. James Tynion IV is one of my favorite DC writers overall, especially when he manages to explore the characters in-depth like he does in this week’s issue of Detective Comics. Unfortunately, so far, Immortal Men is a spectacle but it doesn’t feel like much of a story yet.
Corrina: That the most intriguing character, Reload, may not make it out of this issue is emblematic of the problems already showing with this series. Namely, the Immortal Men themselves seem like rejected 90s superheroes. I like the concept, it’s the execution that puzzles me. While Silencer and Sideways found cool new ways to depict powers, the powers and abilities of these characters are derivative and, well, 90s extreme.
Meanwhile, there is a great deal of carnage, including Caden’s parents, who were prominent in the first issue but are discarded in the second. That’s a frustrating use of panel space. The villain motivation is basic, rather than complicated. I wonder just how much the concept changed from planning to execution. For a launch planned for some time, the New Age of DC Heroes books aren’t always sure what they want to be.
We’ll see if the creative team can solidify the storytelling next issue. Tynion is certainly capable of better writing.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.