After finishing the great first storyline of DC Universe Presents, I turned to issue #6, which is the first part of the new storyline welcoming the Challengers of the Unknown to the New DCU. After finishing Jenkins and Chang’s Deadman storyline, this has a huge spot to fill. Deadman touched on philosophy, religion, and life in the ways that all of my favorite Paul Jenkins’s stories do. From done-in-one issues of Spiderman to Revelations, Jenkins hits a lot of great points in my wheelhouse. The last part of that storyline opened up several questions about life and centered on Deadman’s relationship with the people he inhabits, similarly to how we enter and exit people’s lives in a non-physical fashion. “Why not me?”
I have limited exposure to the Challengers. I enjoyed them in New Frontier and picked up the Showcase to look at Jack Kirby art. But I never read much of it yet. This remaking of the series as a reality show gone wrong is interesting. The set-up is there and I am interested to see if the reality show aspect of it continues through the story or if it was just an opening. The dialogue is very true to reality show contestants and it reads like a Big Brother on a plane. With a few mysterious sequences thrown in to entice the reader, DiDio really crafted a good first issue and I am curious where the Challengers are going.
Additionally, when I saw Jerry Ordway’s name on the cover, I wasn’t that excited. Much of his recent DC work has left me cold as I don’t have any touchstone to his work in the past. I didn’t read his Superman run, so there isn’t any nostalgia. And compared to the Ryan Sook cover, the art isn’t to the same quality. But that is an incredibly high standard. Generally, it is Ordway’s facial expressions that both me. For example, June’s face before the plane crash doesn’t seem proportional due to really big lips and mouth. But otherwise, the characters show a lot of emotion and a lot is shown through the art to define the many characters. There is no one page that stands out, but the art truly works with this story and I hope Ordway’s style isn’t too rushed in future issues as it appears to be in many recent stories he drew.
This series is definitely a highlight in the new DCU and a great way to see peripheral characters shine.