Home > DC Comics > Challengers of the Unknown (2004 Series) #1

Challengers of the Unknown (2004 Series) #1

June 12, 2004

Quick Rating: Below Average
Title: Stolen Moments, Borrowed Time

A terrorist plot throws five strangers together… but why?

Writer: Howard Chaykin
Art: Howard Chaykin
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Letters: Richard Starkings
Editor: Scott Dunbier
Cover Art: Howard Chaykin & Rian Hughes
Publisher: DC Comics

If Ex Machina treaded dangerously close to being a soapbox comic book this week, Challengers of the Unknown builds a foundation for that box and jumps on board. I love the original Challengers of the Unknown, and I frequently enjoy Chaykin’s writing, but this issue basically comes in and beats you over the head with his message. The book opens with the murder of the wife of the Prime Minister of Great Britain. Along the way we meet five people with nothing in common save for odd dreams… until a cataclysmic event unites them.

Chaykin deserves credit for using the classic Challengers concept of the survivors of a disaster banding together for the greater good, but every time the book starts preaching I just started rolling my eyes and lost the next page and a half. We don’t get more than a glimpse of any of our heroes in this issue either, and by the end we don’t know nearly enough about any of them to really care where the story is going. This title very much follows the current superhero first issue formula – introduce the characters, introduce the situation and then have a big flashy ending that sets things up for the future. The problem is, we don’t learn enough about the characters or the situation to care what’s going to happen in the future.

Chaykin’s artwork in this book is considerably better than his writing. He’s been in the comic book game for a long time now, and a lot of the artists who came in at the same time as him have been blacklisted as being too old-fashioned. In Chaykin’s case, though, it’s almost like the rest of the comic book world has finally caught up with him. His detailed, almost hyper-realistic style can be seen in a lot of mainstream comics now, and it works very well.

My love for the concept of the Challengers is the only real fuel that makes me interested in reading the next issue. It’s not that there aren’t any good bits in this comic, it’s that the good bits are never used and the parts that let Chaykin’s voice overwhelm the story are too prevalent. For the sake of the Challengers, I hope it improves once we know who these characters are.

Rating: 4/10

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