by Mike Norton and Dennis Hopeless
When a fairly prevalent comic book artist wakes up one day and decided to pitch a new super hero to a publisher, sometimes the outcome isn’t that great. In those situations you might want to tell said artist to “stick to drawing/inking/colouring.” When said pitch goes well and the new hero turns out to be very compelling then you might say something like “man, this guy can do it all!” The latter seems to be the case in the case of The Answer! - complete with exclamation mark.
The Answer! #1 throws readers straight into the action, an automatic way to invest readers in the characters. It’s when the story gets put on rewind that we get to learn more about who our protagonists are. On one hand you have Devin McKenzie, a reclusive librarian obsessed with word problems and on the other hand you have The Answer! - a masked hero with an exclamation mark on his face. Devin stays up late watching Jeopardy and solving crosswords, The Answer! stays up late being a total badass and fighting bad guys with a refreshing audacity. Neither of them have anything in common until Devin opens a birthday present from her mother. From there on we’re caught up to the first page and given a reason to grab the next issue when Devin and Answer! open up a can of worms.
Although the concept was created by Mike Norton (Revival) who draws the comic, it is scripted by Dennis Hopeless (Cable and X-Force, Avengers Arena). Hopeless has a way of writing a bit too many small meaningless details into his dialogues, but this issue never goes over the “too much” line. It gets close a few times as Devin narrates her OCD tendencies and her monotonous life. That is balanced by Answer!’s almost complete lack of exposition, narration or dialogue. He is the more interesting character out of the two, but the most mysterious are the ones lurking in the shadows of the conflict.
Mike Norton is the artist, and that becomes immediately evident. He has a unique style which he showcases very well in The Answer! There are a lot of things done very well – facial expressions, action panels and full-page spreads. There are a few panels though that aren’t up to his standards. They look out-of-place against the rest, when you’re looking for them that is. Truth be told the lesser quality areas are not distracting from the overall success of the art in this comic. Everything looks good, but is nothing overtly original.
The Answer! #1 does a lot of things very right. Put the readers right into the action as soon as they open the comic. Invest readers in the characters. Give meaning to the conflict and enough mystery to intrigue readers into the next issue. Do all of that with great looking art and you’ve got a great comic. Unfortunately, there isn’t much about this comic to set it apart from many other super hero books, besides Answer!’s audacious attitude. That being said, if you’re looking for a good creator-owned super hero comic, this is a good enough issue to invest in.
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