The Quarter Bin

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Unknown #1

Posted by Luke Brown On May - 12 - 2009


Mark Waid returns to writing super-smart detectives with this week’s Unknown from BOOM! Studios. After just one issue, I can’t wait to see where this book is going.

Unknown stars Catherine Allingham, a female detective with an uncanny ability to solve the mysteries nobody else can. I’m a pretty big mystery/crime/noir fan, and having read one of Waid’s previous genius detective stories, Ruse, I knew the man could deliver an excellent tale  in the genre. After reading the solicitations a few months ago, I was looking forward to seeing what Waid would do with an entirely new playground. Suffice to say, it appears that I know have another book to add to my pull list.

It’s tough to write a review of a mystery story without divulging too many of the interesting plot points, so I’ll only tell you that this first issue sets up a pretty interesting premise concerning quantum physics. What I can go into detail about is the characters. Waid has created a delightful new female lead in Catherine. She’s smart, witty, and most importantly, strong. And not just physically, though she can apparently hold her own in a fight. Over the course of these first 22 pages Waid does what he does best, and gives readers a character to care about and root for. Cat’s current partner, James Doyle, isn’t given a whole lot of time to shine, but we’re at least given a glimpse into how a man with his talent for profiling became a night club bouncer. There are plenty of pages left in this series for the two to develop a more fleshed out relationship (either friendly or romantic), and I’m interested to see which way Waid is going to take it. As to the mystery at hand… listen, Mark Waid delivers a satisfying conclusion about 98% of the time, so why think he won’t this time around?

Minck Oosterveer’s art suits this book perfectly. While you won’t see any eye-popping page layouts, stories like this don’t necessarily require them. What they do require is an artist who can sell body language, and nail facial expressions, and with the exception of one or two strange looking faces, Oosterveer handles the characters pretty well. Catherine is attractive, but not a bombshell, and Minck is able to get that across with ease. The only issue I have with his depiction of her comes near the tail end of the book. Oosterveer takes care to draw Cat as a very good looking normal woman. She’s not overly endowed, nor does she have insane measurements. In spite of that,  in one top she’s wearing, she’s practically bursting out of the seams. I don’t know why, but it’s very obvious, and seemed unnecessary, particularly since the rest of the time Catherine appears more practical/conservative in her attire. It’s a small complaint, considering the rest of the book looks just fine. Oosterveer is tasked with a ton of variation (cars, technology, talking heads, etc.) in his pages, and he delivers each time.

BOOM! has quietly been putting together one of the stronger independent catalogs these past few months, and the publisher has shown no signs of slowing down. Unknown marks another good first issue for a new series for the publisher, and I’m really interested in where Waid and Oosterveer are taking the book. Definitely give this book a shot when you’re at the shop this week.

1 Response so far
  1. BOOM! Studios Blog » Blog Archive » THE UNKNOWN #1: “delightful” — THE QUARTER BIN Said,

    [...] “UNKNOWN marks another good first issue for a new series for the publisher… Definitely give thi…” — The Quarter Bin SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: “THE UNKNOWN #1: “delightful” — THE QUARTER BIN”, url: “” }); Posted in Reviews [...]

    Posted on May 19th, 2009 at 8:40 AM

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