New Challengers #4 – Scott Snyder, Aaron Gillespie, Writers; V. Ken Marion, Penciller; Sandu Florea, Inker; Dinei Ribeiro, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: New Challengers has been a little slow to unfold, but it’s turned into a compelling story about life, death, and what people would do with a second chance. Each of the “New Challengers” died horribly either due to fate or mistakes they made, and they’ve greeted their new lease on life with different attitudes. The issue begins with the challengers in battle against a group of Dinosaur-riding zombie vikings, which is about as epic as it sounds. This title and Hawkman have both been doing a good job of embracing the crazy, wild side of the DCU, but I don’t think they would work nearly as well without the human touch. This issue turns the focus on Bethany, the warrior of the Challengers. As she takes on the dinosaurs but nearly dies in the process, the story flashes back to her early life. She was a veteran who barely survived captivity, but tragedy and death seemed to follow her everywhere she went – claiming everyone she loved besides herself.
This has given her a deeply fatalistic view on life, as she explains in one brutal segment. For every time she escaped death, it seemed to claim someone she loved instead. That’s led her, by the time she loses her fiance to a gang of bank robbers being pursued by Green Arrow, to essentially chase death. She gets her wish – and then promptly wakes up in Challenger Mountain with a second chance she didn’t ask for. She has a very different, harder-edged approach to life than her teammates. The team here has a good balance as they battle to survive in hostile climates, but the bigger threat is waiting for them back at base. The mysterious Prof was revealed as being a double agent, or doppelganger – but he’s not the only one, as Bethany’s escape from death this issue turns out to be a bit more complicated than expected. The story’s a bit jumbled, but it’s definitely got me intrigued for the next issue.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.