The New Challengers #1 Review: Unknown Quantities of Potential

A disparate group of strangers arrive in a mysterious laboratory in an unknown location. Everyone is scared and unsure of what to make of one another. All they remember before arriving is their deaths. A person calling himself the Prof arrives and informs them that they have been selected to become the next generation of the Challengers of the Unknown.

New Challengers #1 cover by Andy Kubert and Brad Anderson
New Challengers #1 cover by Andy Kubert and Brad Anderson

The New Challengers #1 revives the Challengers of the Unknown with a dark edge to the proceedings. The comic opens with a mysterious and gruesome villain and then moves onto a new group of heroes. It even takes the "cheating death" angle and warps it into something a little darker.

It does "feel" a little edgy too. It's not terribly so, and it doesn't collapse into angst. However, it's hard to not look at this as a "dark take" on the Challengers of the Unknown.

Trina Alvarez is the point of view character for the story, and she is a solid character. She was an unlicensed doctor and herbalist in Gotham City who genuinely tried to do good for others, and the moment that led to her being brought to Challengers Mountain is both badass and believable given what we know about her up until that point.

The New Challengers #1 art by Andy Kubert, Klaus Janson, and Brad Anderson
The New Challengers #1 art by Andy Kubert, Klaus Janson, and Brad Anderson

Andy Kubert's artwork is quite solid, and it handles this more macabre take on the Challengers well. The grittiness of the line work matches the down-on-their-luck tone and nature of the characters. There is a lot of good detailing sprinkled in on every page. Klaus Janson's inking looks good. Brad Anderson's color work is similarly atmospheric and dim in addition to just looking good.

New Challengers #1 leaves me on the fence. There are plenty of interesting places for this story to go, but it could also devolve into macabre for the sake of macabre. In any case, this first issue is solid, unique, and recommendable, and you should feel free to check it out.

Enjoyed this? Please share on social media!

About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.
Comments will load 8 seconds after page. Click here to load them now.