Story: Aaron Gillespie, Scott Snyder
Art: Andy Kubert, V. Kem Marion
Colors: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Deron Bennett
What They Say:
It’s the New Challengers versus the Old Challengers! The original Challengers infiltrate Challengers Mountain to uncover the identity of the professor who’s been manipulating both teams! As dark matter leaks from the Dark Multiverse, the New Challengers travel to the prehistoric underworld of Skartaris, stomping grounds of Travis Morgan, the Warlord!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The third issue of the series is one where I reached my limit on New Challengers and, sadly, hit the unsubscribe button on it. Gillespie and Snyder have a big plan going on here and pieces start to come to light more here but once again it ties back to the dark dimension/dark metal storyline that I have not read and that leaves me without a foundation to work from. I’m also not a fan of the growing range of artists working on it as Janson and Kubert are joined by Marion and Florea here and even the coloring side gets an extra body on it. There’s a lot to like with the artwork – it almost feels very 90’s to me in a weird way – but it’s also just so busy because of the script that it’s bringing to life and the sheer amount of dialogue that it becomes far too busy.
The reveal of the original Challengers storming in and trying to set things right had them killing the apparently false professor at the start here, but it turns out that this is the real professor too – just one formed through the dark dimension and tied to the mountain. He’s been orchestrating missions to try and rebuild the remains of an alien that was thrown here from the Source Wall previously that will allow him to really alter reality as needed to fix things that have gone wrong. That clues the Challengers in on what they’re really doing while the original Challengers are baffled by all of this, especially the original professor who can see some truth to what’s being said.
Of course, there’s a lot of fighting in between with one of the New guys taking on the leader of the original team who is far too cocksure with what’s going on but it just becomes a whole lot of uninteresting testosterone being thrown about. It doesn’t quite end in a clean enough way to move forward what with the original team having to stay in the mountain as well with their time being up and that allows for the new team to head to Skartaris for the next mission. It just feels like such a weird shift that unfolds here with it in heading there, almost a distraction, while darker and more dire events play out in the mountain with the Dark Prof essentially proving to be just that.
New Challengers has a lot of interesting aspects to it with what it’s doing but it pretty much lost me with this installment. There’s just something that doesn’t feel cohesive here in a way for it to make sense, which makes me feel pretty dense and that basically kills my enjoyment of it. As much of a fan as the original Challengers I am, and delighted to see them here, the story across the first three issues simply comes across as far too haphazard and busy. I imagine it all makes sense to the creative in how it’s unfolding but from out here I’m left with a disconnect on what I should be investing in, characters to like, and a situation that I can latch onto well enough.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: DC Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: July 18th, 2018