4 out of 5
Over twelve issues (which I read digitally), creators Comfort Love and Adam Withers have crafted the best possible blend for their characters of comic book dramatics, simplified archetypes, and contextually believable personalities for their teen group of ‘Uniques,’ the series’ name for innately powered humans. There are hinted-at romances and petty arguments, but always to the right degree – that contextually believable bit – before those involved come ’round to mature and logical conclusions that don’t feel forced or rushed for the sake of the plot. It’s been a while since I’ve found myself smiling or laughing out loud at a comic when two characters finally kiss, or when tensions boil over into a pointed joke, but it happens here.
The previous two arcs have been incredibly fun takes on Getting The Band Together and First Mission tropes; nothing world-changing, but very, very solid. This third volume, which has the team finally debating whether or not to become lawful heroes by being government registered, ups the ante significantly – thank goodness for an oversized third issue! – with patiently scripted discussions on the matter flipping back and forth, and then a trip to the White House that goes way wrong. And if I was cheering at certain points, when shit gets real in that third issue, it was the digital equivalent of a page turner: high stakes, great action, great drama, with constant sensations of “what can they possibly do next?”
While the three issues do their best to set up the conflict, it does require a bit of backpedaling to more thoroughly introduce the antagonists, and it feels somewhat out of nowhere as a result. However, The Uniques has constantly been bouncing between two years (1994 and 1996) and dropping bits and pieces about this along the way, so our writers/artists maintained an appreciable balance along the way, just favoring arc-isolated plots more than pushing the slow build, so overall, the structure works.
The downside is reading “end of season 1,” which makes me fret that I’ll have to wait too long to see where things go from here…