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‘New Challengers #5’ (review)

Written by Scott Snyder, Aaron Gillespie 
Illustrated by Sandu Florea, V Ken Marion
Published by DC Comics


“It was Uncharted Terrirtory. Chasing scraps of myth. With only the vaguest notion of what I would find. That’s hardly unique though. It’s in the job description.”

One issue to go!

And that means this one has a lot of ground to cover to get us all caught up on what the hell has been going on exactly.

Zombies, Challengers, the Dark Multiverse, dead Cosmic Gods, and the power of life and death.

How’s it all fit together?

Well, have no fear, because the short form (and, sadly) limited-issue run of New Challengers, has pretty much forced writers Aaron Gillespie and Scott Snyder to reveal all these answers and make sense of all the chaos this month, so that their final issue can focus on the grand finale.

And it does. It all makes sense. But it’s a lot. With a fair amount of narrative ping-ponging. So, hang on.

Each of the last several issues have been narrated by one of our newest Challenger team-members. This time out, the POV narration comes from Prof. Well, a Prof. Let’s call him ‘our’ Prof. Though that’s more than debatable, as becomes evident pretty quickly.

In fact, the mysterious guide and leader of our little band of conscripted adventurers is not from our Universe at all. He’s a dark multiverse Prof, and yes, you’ve guessed it, that makes his motivations more than a little suspect.

Still he’s been resourceful, and extremely effective, and he’s about to attain his objective. The reformation of the host and source of a staggering power. One animated giant dead skeleton, coming up. Hold the zombies please.

That’s where our team of New Challengers come in. Turns out they’re pretty resourceful too. And quick studies. That keeps the balance of power in question and gives the heroes of our story a chance to save the day.


Trust Scott Snyder and to turn all the usual storytelling tropes on their head, as he sets things up for a battle between not one, not two, but three teams of Challengers next issue… And hey, I might be thinking small.

No danger of that from Snyder and Gillespie. There is nothing small about this adventure, either in its scope, which spins out directly from the events of the Dark Multiverse event, or in its consequences, which appear to be potentially reality-bending catastrophic. I mean, just imagine what the wrong people could do with the power of an elder cosmic god in their hands.

That’s handled for us this issue by the capable artistic talents of V Ken Marion, whose work has been a nice match to Andy Kubert’s singular style. Remains to be seen if we’ll see Kubert’s return for the final issue, but if not at least we’re in good hands.

Of course, if we’ve learned anything so far, it’s that the rules of wielding that power, are anything but direct, much less without consequence. For reasons we have yet to fully understand, our mysterious colossal cosmic god supposedly comes from the Dark Multiverse himself. Not sure what that tells us, if anything, about his identity, but at least it helps explain all the zombies.

Like I say though, the New Challengers seem to be quick studies. Not to mention, tired of being used as pawns. Hopefully that means the full realization of some yet unknown potentials

Get ready for a fight.

Next Issue: Too many Challengers


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