The Unexpected #4 – Steve Orlando, Writer; Yven Guichet, Cary Nord, Artists; Scott Hanna, Inker; Jeromy Cox, Colorist
Ray – 7.5/10
Ray: As the battle for the future of Nth Metal continues to unfold, the odd team of Firebrand and Neon the Unknown heads to Gotham in the fourth issue of The Unexpected. That quickly leads to them encountering Huntress, who greets them with all her trademark charm and trust. Sure enough, Huntress and Firebrand are fighting soon, with Huntress wanting to get them and their potential weapon of mass destruction out of the city and Firebrand not willing to let anyone stop them – and more than willing to get her daily fight out of the way on her. Before the fight can get out of control, they’re stopped by another new arrival – Signal, who is able to get everyone working in some sort of a functional team-up. Although Duke is Gotham’s newest hero, he’s also the one who had the most close-up interaction with Nth Metal due to the events of Dark Nights: Metal, which makes him an ideal choice to bring into this issue. There’s still a bit too much infodumping in these early pages, but the team-ups are elevating this title nicely.
With the four heroes gathered in the lab and analyzing the sample that Firebrand and Neon brought into the city, Duke reveals the information that he’s picked up from his visions of the object – including the identity of the big bad of the series, Mandrakk the Dark Monitor. Orlando’s work has often contained callbacks to the work of Grant Morrison, but this might be the most direct connection yet. These are long-dangling subplots from Final Crisis. I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about Duke being a metahuman, but Orlando does good work with it. The attack by Onimar Synn that takes place in the second half of the issue is big and dramatic, although Synn remains a mostly one-note villain. It’s getting the heroes closer to their destination, which will apparently involve a stop-over with another hero with a close connection to Nth Metal – Hawkman. This series might be a bit chaotic and irregular at times, but it’s got big ideas, and that’s enough to make it one of the more promising books in this line.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.