The Hypernaturals #1 Review by Jerry Whitworth
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning; Artists: Brad Walker & Andres Guinaldo; Colorist: Stephen Downer; Letterer: Ed Dukeshire; Cover Artists: Francesco Mattina (A), Trevor Hairsine (B & F), Phil Noto (C), Timothy Green II (D & E), Stephanie Gonzaga (G), Bill Sienkiewicz (H), & Brad Walker (SDCC Exclusive)
Seven years after Sublime stole the Nephilim Fragment to destroy the Quantinuum, the current generation of the Hypernaturals have seemingly disappeared in 28 Kosov on their maiden mission leaving retired members Thinkwell and Bewilder to organize a new team of rookies composed of Shoal and a rejected candidate for Halfshell to investigate. When they arrive there, they are greeted by a familiar, yet impossible, threat. Meanwhile, former Hypernatural Clone 45 is still haunted in his dreams by the battle with Sublime as he later learns of the current group’s disappearance.
Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, known as the writing team DnA, are largely known for their Legion of Super-Heroes for DC and Guardians of the Galaxy for Marvel where this new collaboration in the Hypernaturals largely feels like an amalgamation of these works (which isn’t a bad thing at all). My immediate reaction to this story written in medias res is being inundated with just a series of terms and characters that proves a little overwhelming. The issue starts out with the past team of Hypernaturals, a group of five with at least two mentioned to be out of the picture (Sublime having previously murdered one), only to learn at least three surviving members have retired and a new group, which has disappeared, is never seen (though its leader was provided some background), leading to an even newer group to be formed. This alone is a bit confusing but adding in a lot of alien jargon that is only partly given explanation makes the read a bit challenging. From what I can gather, membership in the Hypernaturals is akin to an idol competition, not unlike works like WildGuard, I Hate Gallant Girl, or Tiger & Bunny, which is an intriguing a concept (where super powered characters are referred as Hypers). Largely story wise, the first issue feels like an information dump that I assume will be fleshed out as the series progresses. While I think this can turn readers away, I’m interested to see where it goes because it’s rather obvious a lot of thought went into developing this universe.
Regarding art, it’s neither great or poor but it’s passable enough to not interfere with the experience. The only time it becomes a minor issue is during action sequences, it can be challenging following the action when panels become disjointed and go topsy-turvy (though I can see the argument made of it being innovative and adding another dimension to the narrative). Characters designs remind me a bit of Cyberforce meets Gen¹³ with a futuristic spin as the world goes from futuristic utopian (the Hypernaturals) to dystopian (Clone 45) to alien wasteland (28 Kosov).