Review – The Unexpected #3: The Coming of Synn

Comic Books DC This Week
The Unexpected #3 cover, credit to DC Comics.

The Unexpected #3 – Steve Orlando, Writer; Cary Nord, Penciller; Mark Farmer, Scott Hanna, Inkers; Jeromy Cox, Colorist

Ray – 7.5/10

Ray: Far more strange and cosmic than most of its sister books, but somehow with a more clear narrative than most of them, The Unexpected #3 continues Steve Orlando’s strange trip through the weirdest corners of the DCU. With the team narrowed for now down to leader Neon the Unknown and rookie Firebrand, last issue saw the survivors of the first-issue massacre encounter June, one of the original Challengers of the Unknown. She and her team have been dealing with the hunt for Nth Metal for some time, and she knows a lot about the main villain of this arc – the Thanagarian overlord Onimar Synn. Firebrand and Neon are new allies, and this segment makes clear that they’re uneasy allies as well. Neon, a cosmic being far older than most humans, has known his now-dead allies far longer than he knew Firebrand, and he begins taking out his grief on her. Firebrand, while normally a kind healer by nature, is also not the type to be pushed around and take abuse.

The Orcs of the DCU. Credit to DC Comics.

While they have a lot of issues to work out, they don’t exactly have the luxury of sorting them out now, as they’re soon sent to Monster Valley in Siberia, which is populated by a host of giant beings that contain ties to the late Elligh’s legacy. This scene has some great visuals, and before long they’re confronted by Synn himself. This alien tyrant has been lurking in the back of the DCU for a long time as a b-list villain (playing a bigger role in Thanagar stories, but we don’t get many of them). Here, though, Orlando successfully transforms him into a major threat who knows Nth Metal better than anyone and is using it to turn himself into a massive threat. More than most of the New Age of DC Heroes books, this one feels like it’s a direct sequel to the elements set up in Dark Nights: Metal (surprisingly, more so than the books written by that event’s architects). The plot is still significantly scattered, and we wind up barely knowing the characters besides Firebrand so far. It’s a mess, but it’s an interesting one. Orlando is doing Morrison here, and we know Morrison can be hit and miss – but I’m intrigued enough to take the ride.

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