One of the more unusual promotional things that I remember from comics in my youth were these sealed plastic grab-bags of random titles. I was gifted several of these but I remember almost nothing more. Yet somehow I remember The Challengers of the Unknown. I don’t even remember if I read it, and I know I didn’t have any more than the one issue. But I still remember that hourglass.
Now there’s a New Challengers, and despite my overall apathy towards many of DC’s bigger titles I really enjoyed this one. The story begins on a plane, in a storm, somewhere in the Himalayas, “then”. There’s a crazy guy covered in bandages, a glowing something, and the plane gets crashed. That’s all I really got from the prologue.
Then we skip ahead to somewhere in Colorado, “now”. Four strangers drop out of a glowing machine, and basically on top of each other. Each one bearing a new hourglass tattoo. As Trina Alverez recounts her last memories in The Narrows of Gotham City, the group is joined by Prof who leads them through a holographic museum of all the past Challengers of the Unknown. As he explains thst the group has been chosen to join their ranks, he gives them a choice: The Mission or the Museum.
I really enjoyed this. The Challengers have been gone from print long enough that younger readers probably won’t catch some of the throwbacks, but there are very much a few neat ones. Andy Kubert’s art has just the right balance of grittiness, while Scott Snyder and Aaron Gillespie’s story draws you right in. It moves quickly, but without feeling like anything is missing.
I’m giving this an enthusiastic 3.5 out of 5, and will probably continue checking this out, at least for the first story arc.