The Unexpected #5 – Steve Orlando, Writer; Ronan Cliquet, Artist; Jeromy Cox, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Story Finds Its Footing
Ray: The Unexpected #5 seems to finally find the series’ groove, lightening up on the Morrison-esque lingo for a more accessible high-adventure story that gets the plot moving. When we last left off, Firebrand and Neon were chasing the source of the Nth Metal to the person who knows it best – Hawkman. The Thanagarian immortal is suspicious when they show up, and even more so when Neon pulls the piece of Nth Metal isotope that triggers a primal connection in Hawkman – linking him to the dark God Barbatos. Hawkman’s evil former master tries to regain control of him, and Hawkman responds with primal rage. Soon enough, he and Firebrand are off on a massive brawl, fulfilling Firebrand’s necessary battle for the day, but Neon is eventually able to calm them down and explain the situation. Although Hawkman is still suspicious of the whole affair, they’re able to briefly work together and explore their mutual location – Frankenstein’s Castle.
Hawkman’s been to the castle before, and a particularly dark era of his past is rooted there. Both Morrison and Lemire have done work with Frank and his evil scientist father, so it’s good to see Orlando follow up on that again. The plot doesn’t really have too much time to get settled before it becomes clear that Onimar Synn is coming for them once again. Synn’s presence as an on-again-off-again villain for the series has worked pretty well – they get away from him, but they never quite escape him and he’s near unkillable. This title has worked as a pretty effective counterpart to Hawkman’s own title since it started focusing on the Nth Metal mythology – Thanagar and its role in the DCU’s history seems to be turning into one of the major running plots coming off of Dark Nights: Metal. I still feel like we spend too little time with the characters, but this issue finally gives us some real insight into Neon. It’s an ambitious, slightly muddled book that seems to get better with every issue.
Corrina: All of the spin-offs to Dark Knights: Metal have started with what I’d consider excellent concepts. Unfortunately, most of them have been too muddled to recommend, among them The Immortal Men and New Challengers, books that I want to like.
The Unexpected #1 started with a focus on Firebrand and that worked, despite throwing in a bunch of characters and concepts. But after that, the plot and characters became more muddled–some even died–and it wasn’t until this issue that the storytelling felt solid again. I still have trouble with Firebrand having a heart of…Nth metal?….but now that we’re basically down to Neon and Firebrand, the story is easier to follow and the characters have clear goals. Which, seemingly, include Hawkman, though first, they make him angry. (Though, to be fair to Firebrand, that is not hard.)
If you’re interested in the series, this would be a good place to jump in.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.