The Unbelievable Unteens #1
Dark Horse Comics 2021
Written by Jeff Lemire
Illustrated & Lettered by Tyler Crook
From the world of the Eisner Award-winning Black Hammer series comes this meta team superhero saga taking place between two different worlds. After signing at a comic book convention, Unbelievable Unteens artist Jane Ito finds herself visited by one of the characters from her own creation—but was it her own creation? Were the Unteens an actual school of teenaged misfit superheroes who battled supervillains under the lead of the mysterious Dr. Miles Moniker? And if so, who wiped their memories and why? As Jane's world is turned upside down and she learns the true nature of her identity, she discovers a sinister plot leading her to assemble a team she had suspected was purely fictional.
I was anxiously awaiting this one as I’ve always had a soft spot for teenage super groups, The Teen Titans and Legion of Super-Heroes were my introduction to comics, and this one doesn’t disappoint in the slightest. The idea is great as we see Jane at a convention drawing and signing books and it not only makes me long for conventions but it’s just plain old nice to see a book open this way. It sets the stage for the story extremely well.
I am absolutely loving the way that this is being told. The story & plot development we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented exceptionally well. The character development that we see through the dialogue, the character interaction as well as how they act and react to the situations and circumstances which they encounter fleshes the characters out magnificently. The pacing is superb and as it takes us through the pages revealing the story, the characters and the world they live in we’re captivated by what we see and want to see oh so much more.
I appreciate the way that this is being structured and how we see the layers within the story emerge and grow. Within these layers the story unfolds through the characterisation and these awesome plot twists to this cliffhanger ending and all of these aspects add depth, dimension and complexity to the storytelling. How we see everything working together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves the story forward is expertly achieved.
Love, love, love the interiors here. There’s something about Tyler’s work where he can create just the right mood, tone and feel for the story that brings it alive in a whole nother level and it’s just brilliantly rendered. The linework is phenomenal and how we see the varying weights and techniques being utilised to create the detail in the work is simply stunning. The way that we see backgrounds being utilised to enhance and expand the moments is handled exceptionally well. How they work within the composition of the panels to bring about the depth perception, sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope to the story is beautifully rendered. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a masterful eye for storytelling. The colour work is equally as brilliant to see. The painted style is his trademark and he understands just how colour works and how to maximise the effect it can have thanks to how he uses the various hues and tones within the colours to create the shading, highlights and shadow work.
This is off to one heck of a start. With this one dude from the Unteens coming to Jane and looking like he does, a walking corpse, and doing this whole encounter business with her it just fires up the readers’ imagination in such a beautiful way. With some exceptional writing and characterisation alongside this mindbogglingly brilliant interior artwork The Unbelievable Unteens is going to become a magnificent obsession.