Review: Hypernaturals #4 By Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning

Hypernaturals 4

Published by Boom Studios

Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning

Art by Tom Derenick and Andres Guinaldo

The Plot

The story begins 81 years prior to the end of the last issue.  It involves an earlier iteration of the Hypernaturals team intervening in a major war.  During this mission they encounter a major disturbance, which appears to originate from a man called Chernovski.  The comic then shifts to where the previous issue left off in the present day with the default Hypernaturals team (made up of former members Bewilder, Thinkwell, and Prismatica) doing a prison interrogation with Sublime, an old adversary.  They are still seeking answers for the disappearance of the current Hypernaturals team (which occurred in issue 0 available on FCBD).  At the same time, the recovered body of current member Ego/Id is wreaking havoc at Hypernaturals Central.  And while all that is happening two probationary Hypernaturals members Shoal and Halfshock intervene in a gang fight.  Bewilder and co. abandon their interrogation when they determine that Hypernaturals Central must be under attack only to find yet another former member, Clone 45, on the scene with the situation resolved.  The issue ends with Prismatica on the verge of making a deal with the devil.

The Breakdown

This review was taxing to do with all of the characters involved in this story, but it is not a chore to read and enjoy by any means.  DnA do a great job of handling and balancing the large cast of characters (13 in this issue).  So far we have seen three different iterations of the Hypernaturals team and each of them feels distinct.  To do so in only four issues is a testament to their writing abilities.  The dynamics between the characters is also interesting (Prismatica/Sublime, Bewilder/Clone 45, Shoal/Halfshock, etc.), which is impressive considering that some of these histories occurred off panel prior to the start of the series.  When this issue begins in the past, we see new characters (Aether, Warpstar, Clone 21, and Guesstalt) and despite the limited time they receive, I wanted to see more of them.  In particular, Guesstalt was interesting as he is molded in the same intellectual vein as Thinkwell.  I am also anxious to see the correlation between Sublime and Chernovski.  The art in this series continues to be solid.  Derenick handles the flashback sequence while Guinaldo does the present day.  Guinaldo’s art doesn’t make or break the book, but it is solid work.  The layouts are well done as the panels in the interrogation scenes are basic.  This is countered by the Clone-45 fight scenes where the panels are created to show the intensity of the action.  So much happens and yet there wasn’t a point where I felt lost.  This was another great issue

BUT…

I find that I enjoy the read more when I avoid the whole Quantinuum, Nanocene, etc. historical backstory at the beginning of the story.  I understand that they want to immerse the reader into this new world (complete with future jargon and all).  I’m not opposed to it being there and it doesn’t necessarily make me not want to read the book by any means.  I’m getting anxious to actually see the Hypernaturals team in action, but anticipating it could be a good thing as well.  The build up might be frustrating for some, but I think the payoff will be worth it.

Buy it, Borrow it, Shelf Read it, or Ignore it?

It’s definitely worth buying.  There is a lot of exposition, but there are many stories and back stories that can now be explored for many issues.  DnA have created a new world and have managed to do a lot in just four issues.  I am a fan that has become frustrated by some of the stories, politics, etc. of the Big Two and decided to use my wallet to do my talking and buy more titles from smaller publishers.  I still get titles from the bigger companies, but I am glad that I expanded my horizons.   Tired of events, shock deaths, and general retreads? Try a book like Hypernaturals where the storytelling is patient and well crafted.  The last couple of FCBDs have introduced me to some great titles and I am anticipating FCBD 2013 to see what else it’ll convince me to buy.

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