The Unknown: The Devil Made Flesh 4 (January 2010)

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Ok, the next Unknown series? That series might be okay, because Catherine whatever-her-name-is is going to be all messed up with the brain tumor and seeing wacky stuff all the time. It might make the mysteries interesting, but Waid’s steady reliance on Heaven and Hell for all answers certainly isn’t making the series engaging.

He answers maybe one question here, how did Catherine come back to life. But he raises a lot more questions and speeds through them (I’m still not clear on how Doyle got resurrected) to get to his ending, which is the setup for the next series.

Waid doesn’t seem to have much of an idea of where the series is going and he’s now eight issues into it. Instead of doing a comic version of Moonlighting or Remington Steele, he’s doing some lame TV pilot for a fundamentalist Christian pay cable station.

Eh.

D 

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Minck Oosterveer; colorists, Javier Suppa and Andres Lozano; letterer, Marshall Dillon; editors, Dafna Pleban and Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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The Unknown: The Devil Made Flesh 3 (November 2009)

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It must be nice being the editor-in-chief at the company where you write comics, because then you can get away with a silly issue like this one. It’s not bad–I mean, it’s bad, but it’s not really bad–it’s not stupid, for instance, it’s just poorly handled.

Waid puts the surprise ending in the third issue instead of the fourth, then he has this strange return of a character in a manner not making any sense. He explains it and I guess it gets the reader through the twenty pages of story, but I’m sitting here now and I can’t, for the life of me, figure out how the heck it makes an iota of sense. More, it seemingly contradicts certain elements of the first series.

The big religious reveal hasn’t happened yet. I think the lack of sincerity (Waid’s not a fundie) bugs me a bit.

C- 

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Minck Oosterveer; colorists, Javier Suppa and Andres Lozano; letterer, Marshall Dillon; editors, Dafna Pleban and Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios.

The Unknown: The Devil Made Flesh 2 (October 2009)

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Ugh. Okay, on the good side, Waid seems like he’s going to leave Doyle dead (which brings up the further question–why did Waid bother creating the character to kill him on his fifth issue, it’s kind of like what’s her face in The Dark Knight). Additionally, Allingham’s a lot less obnoxious when she’s not all-knowing. But the new assistant as the double agent thing, it’s a disaster.

Apparently, the serial killer they were after has the money and connections to have a busty female sidekick who can transport people to Italy and distract them so the serial killer can continue his work. It all has to do with the little boy in town, no doubt, who apparently has a “Twilight Zone” power–the entire town is in his imagination (wasn’t that reveal a Star Trek episode too?).

Still, a lot better than Waid’s last attempt with this one.

C 

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Minck Oosterveer; colorists, Javier Suppa and Andres Lozano; letterer, Marshall Dillon; editors, Dafna Pleban and Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios.

The Unknown: The Devil Made Flesh 1 (September 2009)

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No way, Waid came up with a genuinely compelling mystery? The setting is lame (Italy?) but the way it plays out is like a solid film noir, even if the art’s still problematic. Oosterveer seems to have improved at the beginning, but it’s not long before he’s drawing Doyle like Gorilla Grodd’s albino twin brother again. Then the women show up and it’s all cleavage, all the time.

But the story’s definitely better this time–until it inevitably turns into some religious nonsense, which probably will happen in the third issue.

Waid’s too determined to globe trot with these characters, who could be interesting, but only in a confined setting. Sherlock Holmes never went to Morocco.

Also, Waid seems uncomfortable to put Allingham in any gender-based physical danger, but such a situation would tell a lot about the character. But character certainly isn’t the point of his writing here.

C+ 

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Minck Oosterveer; colorist, Andres Lozano; letterer, Marshall Dillon; editors, Dafna Pleban and Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios.

The Unknown 4 (August 2009)

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I wish Boom! would appropriately label their Christian comics so I don’t read them by mistake again. In this issue, the previously science-happy Allingham becomes Kirk Cameron. The comic should have ended with her boobs being smaller, as to be more Christian. They could have made her look like Melissa Joan Hart or something.

If all The Unknown‘s mysteries are answered with religious malarky, what’s the point in reading the book. Waid’s not doing anything interesting with it like Ennis or Moore do, he’s just using it as a solution, which is why it ought to be on the Boom! Christian imprint.

Boom!’s always tried to exploit the cultural zeitgeist, but come on… Christian Fundies are so three years ago–remember the Mel Gibson doesn’t believe in gravity bit from “Family Guy”?

Waid completely eighty-sixes the first issue’s ground situation.

I can’t wait for the creationist issue.

D 

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Minck Oosterveer; colorists, Fellipe Martins, Renato Faccini and Andres Lozano; letterer, Marshall Dillon; editor, Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios.

The Unknown 3 (July 2009)

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Now it’s Indiana Jones, complete with hopping on a moving truck full of ancient relics and having a showdown with a purportedly three hundred-year-old man who’s on a holy mission.

The first issue in the series in no way sets the book up as a mystical, sci-fi thingy; it was a mystery, science comic. Allingham’s character changes once again, this time from master detective to pulp hero (her cleavage stays the same, however, and is just as silly as before), and those changes raise the question of Waid’s intent for the book, not to mention his interest level.

It’s not about the characters–he’s willy nilly between Allingham and Doyle and their chemistry is awful–it’s not about the case–he changes it from real to supernatural at the drop of a hat–so it’s just about keeping, presumably, someone interested in the story’s revelations.

He fails.

D 

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Minck Oosterveer; colorist, Fellipe Martins; letterer, Marshall Dillon; editor, Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios.

The Unknown 2 (June 2009)

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Ok, I’m still not sold on the series–it’s way too simplistic and way too contrived–Allingham might be the most obnoxious protagonist to a comic I’ve ever read, Waid seems to be going out of his way to make her unlikable, but it’s not like Doyle (get it, Arthur Conan) is much better. Boom! likes doing comics about big muscle men (the last one I “read” was 2 Guns) who lack any humanity. The whole thing seems a tad overcompensatory. Maybe they want a blond-wigged Vin Diesel in the movie.

Anyway, the ending is fantastic though. Oosterveer gets the uncanny stuff down, it’s the regular parts he has trouble with. I’m still trying to figure out why they decided to make an all brains, all business female protagonist look like a playmate.

The way Oosterveer concentrates on the protagonist’s cleavage, it’s hard to believe anyone listens to her.

C 

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Minck Oosterveer; colorist, Fellipe Martins; letterer, Marshall Dillon; editor, Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios.

The Unknown 1 (May 2009)

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This one’s an almost impossible sell to me. It’s Waid doing “The Mentalist,” only with a female main character and an impossible degree of success. Imagine if Sherlock Holmes were so famous and so successful (and so globetrotting) he didn’t have to do the disguise thing.

It’s kind of cute, but in a fake way. There’s no chemistry between the two leads–Holmes, sorry, Christine Allingham is a little less human than a Terminator without human skin and her sidekick, Doyle, is apparently being drawn so they can cast the Rock in the movie version.

The art’s pretty lame–Oosterveer veers between cheesecake and cartoon. The whole thing reminds me of The Maze Agency mixed with Mister X, but without any of either series’ charm. Allingham solves the mysteries in an obnoxious manner–wait, it’s more like she’s Batman, but without a secret identity.

Waid’s “crime” comics are always disappointing.

C 

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Minck Oosterveer; colorist, Fellipe Martins; letterer, Marshall M. Dillon; editors, Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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