Review – The Unexpected #7: Mandrakk’s Reign

Comic Books DC This Week
The Unexpected #7 cover, via DC Comics.

The Unexpected #7 – Steve Orlando, Writer; Ronan Cliquet, Artist; Jeromy Cox, Colorist


Ray – 6/10

Corrina: High Stakes But…

Ray: Steve Orlando’s surreal journey through the odder corners of the DC multiverse reaches its final act in The Unexpected #7, with the series concluding in January. Overall, it’s been an interesting series with some fun main characters but never lived up to its potential. That’s mainly because half the cast the book was sold on died in the first issue, leaving us mainly with a cast of Neon the Unknown, Firebrand, and some guest-stars like Hawkman and Huntress. Firebrand is the most intriguing character in the series, a pacifist forced into combat by her sci-fi heart, but she’s not quite enough to carry it. The final arc seems to be picking up on plot threads from the old DC event Final Crisis, with Mandrakk the Dark Monitor serving as the main villain. Anyone who remembers Final Crisis knows that they should expect some confusing storytelling, but fortunately this issue is mostly straightforward.

The issue does a lot of showing us Mandrakk’s power, but it’s never exactly clear what’s going on – at one point he seems to have ripped out Firebrand’s heart, but she seems to recover with little ill effects. Mandrakk seems firmly established as the big bad of the series, but that’s thrown for a loop by the arrival of Bad Samaritan, who’s gotten his hands on more power and is tired of being treated like a pawn. That sets up a showdown between two villains that is eventually dramatically resolved by the end of the issue.

If you’re interested in watching obscure Morrison characters do battle, this comic might intrigue you, but as it turns into a full-on fight comic it’s starting to lose me. Like other books in this line, it has hints of intriguing characters but never quite builds them into a coherent narrative. Hopefully, Orlando will get to use some of these characters again in some of his future DC books with a clearer narrative.

The final showdown begins. Via DC Comics.

Corrina: The stakes for this fight seem to be reality itself but it’s hard to feel those stakes because the narrative is a bit confusing and because there hasn’t been enough time to truly get to know the characters. Neon and Firebrand both have intriguing elements but they’ve been consistently thrown into fight situations that don’t add enough depth to their characters.

Similarly, I’m not sure what the villain quite wants, save ultimate power. The Bad Samaritan has the clearest motivation, revenge, but he’s also a character that hasn’t been fleshed out, being presumed dead and all.

I love many of the concepts in this book but, as Ray said, the narrative hasn’t quite jelled.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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