Storytellers: Ryan Sook, Cary Nord, Steve Orlando
Inks: Mick Gray, Wave von Grawbadger
Colors: FCO Plascenia
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
What They Say:
In the aftermath of DARK NIGHTS: METAL, the DC Universe has been forever changed as new heroes are called out of the shadows. Amid this all is Janet Fals…Firebrand! Once a paramedic dedicated to saving lives, she must now start a fight once every 24 hours to feed the Conflict Engine that’s replaced her heart. But Janet’s heart isn’t just a curse-it’s a beacon, drawing out both the mysterious Neon the Unknown and the seductive, malevolent Bad Samaritan. One of them wants to cut out her heart, the other wants to save it-but neither of them knows the true danger hidden within that will kick off a superhero manhunt ranging from Thanagar to the deepest heart of the Dark Multiverse!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Having only just recently started reading some of the first issues of Dark Nights: Metal, I know I did the whole thing out of order. I wasn’t keen on the event in the heat of the moment but I tried several of the New Age of Heroes series that spawned from it. One that I missed was this one, which has trio listed as working the story with a mixture shifting into the artwork as well. There are a lot of names involve dni putting this one together and you can feel the edge of the “too many cooks” aspect to it. What The Unexpected does is pretty straightforward though in introducing crazy situation and expanding on it until things go crazily big while hinting at what’s to come.
The focus through which we’re introduced to events is Janet Fals, a woman whose family was heavily invested in the service of the CIA but she went her own way to be a paramedic. Her listing off events that she’d survived was amusing as your regular resident of this world has seen a lot, but as a paramedic, it makes clear that she really has been through a lot. Unfortunately, the last event is what killed her with a big piece of metal through her heart and that had her father donating her body to a company focused on research and development. Hence her getting a new heart that’s called the Conflict Engine. It changed her physically to bright orange and hairless but gave her other abilities – and the need to fight in order to refuel every day. Janet’s not unsympathetic here and we see how she tries to have touches of her old life to her, such as using an alias and working at a VA clinic for free, just to be able to help people in some form.
The downside is that a lot of people want her heart, which includes someone named Adam Quench, aka the Bad Samaritan, who showed up at the clinic in order to get the drop on her and steal the heart for a job that he’s been assigned. This is also when a group shows up lead by Neon to protect Janet and her superhero person of Firebrand, not that Janet wants any of this. Neon works along with two others who are seemingly killed quickly here and it paints the picture of a group that has existed for a long time, some unexpected ties to Thanagar that make sense with all the Nth metal, and a lot of fighting. It’s a bit of a mess as we get little snippets from Neon and his group about their age and what they’re really doing here, but the general idea is that when Quench attacked using Neon’s blood on his hands, it created a new metal. And that is most assuredly unexpected – and very useful to those that subsist on it.
I tried a lot but not all of the New Age of Heroes books and most of them suffered from the same problems in that you felt like you were a few steps behind from the first page with what was going on. This one works a bit better as the initial focus is on Janet herself and it runs through things fast to get us caught up, which is a plus. But with everything else I have to presume that not reading the Dark Nights: Metal book means you’re missing out on a lot of the who, what, and why of it all. There are enough basics there to be accessible so that it’ll work and can grow from there but I was hoping for a bit more from the book as it’s introducing all-new characters.
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: DC Comics via DC Universe
Release Date: June 6th, 2018