The Hypernaturals vol. 2 TPB – Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning

1 out of 5

I appreciated the world-building, and the way volume 1 just set off running, with our “lead” characters – the current incarnation of regularly-refreshed hero team The Hypernaturals – having disappeared, and former members of the group called in on the search, but even within the opening three issues, there were problems: cliched subplots; a massive jumble of characters… an overall lacking sense of focus combined with a suspicious amount (for a starting arc) of filler.

And all of that just gets worse in these next four collected issues, to the extent that I can’t even really say what they’re about, except more of the same: more random “character building” moments that feel more like padding than anything, thanks to the roving plotting which doesn’t allow us to ever sit with one idea or person to get a sense of scope or stakes, and a frequently time-flippy-back-and-forth approach that continually undermines the attempted all-hands-on momentum. From the surface, putting a book in constant crisis mode from the start is interesting, but there are just too many cast members and concepts at play here to be able to maintain tension – it instead feels like we’re just listening to consistently random faux-science gobbledygook, and then we get a break for the next generic hero fight. Artists Tom Derenick and Andres Guinaldo provide plenty of interesting designs and energetic layouts, but this is also subject to the lack of focus – the most exciting art can still be bland if the supporting story isn’t at least entertaining – and some disconnects with, perhaps, the intentions of the script lead to some choreography that falls pretty flat.

I asked myself often during volume 1: When does this story actually start?, but the flow had enough inertia for the question to stay far enough in the background. With volume 2, though, it becomes more of a judgement, and when every other page feels like it just restarts us with more characters and pseudo-science yet again, it more right becomes: when does this story end?