Current Reviews

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Unknown #1

Posted: Monday, May 11, 2009
By: Christopher Power

Mark Waid
Minck Oosterveer
BOOM! Studios
Mark Waid has become incredibly prolific since becoming the editor-in-chief of BOOM! I thought that he might drop off the map, but instead of disappearing from writing duties, he has brought out new characters exploring interesting ideas. In Unknown he has created an investigator who has an uncanny knack for noticing details and who has another hitch: she has 6 months to live.

The story quickly establishes Catherine as being a pragmatic, competent and in-demand by the local constabulary. Waid presents her abilities as being almost supernatural and leaves the reader guessing as to whether they are in fact extraordinary in origin. He cleverly contrasts her abilities against that of a medium at a crime scene.

The protagonist is also established as being a bit unstable, with her mind playing tricks on her, with visions of someone who looks particularly unpleasant. The reader is kept guessing as to who this unpleasant individual is until about the middle of the book, leaving it a bit muddy, and forcing the reader to flip back and review previous panels just to see if something has been missed.

Indeed, I think that this phenomenon of checking and re-checking scenes was present throughout the book, and not always in a way that helped the story. Scenes and panel layouts had me jumping around back and forth between pages, leaving me wondering what was going on. For example, the transitions between page 3 and 4, when the bouncer is introduced, are interspersed in an almost random way. Movement and motion do not seem to be in a smooth transition between panels, and sometimes it was difficult to determine which character was moving.

Overall, not much happens in this issue. It starts up a story line about quantum teleportation and does so in a convincing way. I am interested to see where the story leads and what key themes Waid is going to explore.



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