Written by Chuck Wendig
Drawn by Nicole Virella
Published by Marvel Comics
First, if you’re unaware of this character, see my previous review for AVENGERS #34.1, where I go over the character’s backstory, both in terms of creation and publication.
And now that you’ve read that, you’ll see how much I enjoyed that portrayal of this version of Hyperion, and even hoped for an ongoing series so, naturally, I was happy when this series was announced last year. Unfortunately, Al Ewing was not announced as the writer, but I was still looking forward to this. After all, I wasn’t aware of Al Ewing’s work before I read that Avengers issue, and was impressed, so perhaps I’ll be just as impressed with the writing of Chuck Wendig, whom I am likewise unfamiliar with?
Unfortunately, that has not turned out to be the case.
In this issue, Hyperion is working as a cross-country truck driver, in a civilian identity as Marc. The issue opens with him driving through “the middle of nowhere” in Nebraska. He somewhat reluctantly picks up a young girl (no age is specifically referenced, but she appears to be early teens) with green hair who goes by the name “Doll.” From the beginning, Doll is clearly hiding something. And she also seems to know exactly who Marc really is and, in fact, that’s why she sought him out, for protection. The protection she needs is from a crazy Carnival. Literally a Carnival full of freakish looking people with various superhuman abilities. They show up in a bunch of trucks and cars and proceed to chase Marc and Doll, leading to a dangerous and dramatic confrontation.
So that’s the premise, but what doesn’t work for me is that Doll is the main character, not Hyperion, who only barely uses his powers and is mostly in his civilian guise. It was the insight into Hyperion’s thoughts, and seeing how he viewed this world and humans, in that Avengers issue that made me want to know more about him. But in this issue, we learn almost nothing about him. Why is working as a truck driver? That’s not explained. There is a page where it’s revealed that Doll had a gun on her, which Hyperion found and threw out while she was sleeping, and he tells her it’s because he’s against violence now or something. That new stance isn’t explained either. No, it’s Doll who narrates this issue for us, although her past is still vague, in a way that I guess is supposed to entice the reader to keep reading future issues. But the “mystery” just didn’t intrigue me at all. I didn’t find myself caring about her, or why she’s running away from the Carnies, nor how she knows who “Marc” really is.
On the art-side it isn’t much better. It’s not bad, it’s just sort of bland. Nothing special. From the way she’s drawn, it’s hard to tell if Doll is a boy or a girl, but I don’t know if that was intentional on the part of the artist or not (perhaps the androgynous looks is intentional?). But the problem is that none of the characters stand out, which not good for a story like this, where the various Carnies should invoke a sense of fear (or disgust) by their appearance, but they don’t. Likewise, when we finally see Hyperion in all his costumed glory, it feels like it should be a majestic image, but it isn’t.
So I just wasn’t impressed with either the writing or the art of this issue, and therefore cannot recommend it, and have no intention of continuing this series myself