Title: The Immortal Men.
Story-Arc: The End of Forever.
Writer(s): James Tynion IV.
Illustrator(s): Jim Lee, Ryan Benjamin & Tyler Kirkham.
Colourist(s): Alex Sinclair, Jeremiah Skipper, David Baron & Arif Prianto.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Release Date: December 4th 2018.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.
Spilling out of the events of Dark Nights: Metal, DC unleashes the New Age of Heroes with the introduction of half a dozen new comic book series serving as an introduction to new and old heroes. With the intention to fill in the gap in DC’s repertoire and to offer artists the chance to shine over the writers, these stories look to bring out some new uncharted territory to fully exploit and further expand the DC Universe. Of all the creative teams that have been given this shining opportunity to work their imagination, The Immortal Men is the series that had my curiosity piqued the most with James Tynion IV and Jim Lee working on the same project. However, the previous series so far have all proven to fail in their sale’s pitch by offering characters and stories that show great resemblances to some of Marvel’s most iconic heroes. With Damage being the Hulk, the Silencer being the Punisher, the Terrifics being the Fantastic Four and Sideways being Spider-Man, the greatest mystery now is to figure out if The Immortal Men will continue this unfortunate trend.
What is The Immortal Men: The End of Forever about? The story introduces us to Caden Park, a teenage boy who can’t stop having odd dream sequences where he happens to be the hero of a secret war. Unfortunately for him, things are much more complicated than he could have ever imagined when he discovers that he is the key to the survival of the Immortal Men, a group of metahumans who have the honor and task to protect and fight over humanity’s destiny against the evil Infinite Woman. As Caden Parker slowly discovers that this war has been ongoing since time immemorial, he also finds out that he has the ability to read people’s minds with a single touch. Collecting issues #1-6, The Immortal Men: The End of Forever introduces to the DC Universe a whole network of heroes and villains waging war right under the noses of our favourite universe.
The upside to this series is that it isn’t a blatant rip-off of anything in particular. If I wanted to really stretch it, I’d have drawn some similarities to the X-Men with the whole idea of individuals with powers and secret wars meant to be hidden from mankind. However, it doesn’t exactly venture too far into that ugly game and actually looks to establish a heavy and verbose story where brand new lore elements are introduced without any filters whatsoever. In fact, with James Tynion IV’s tendency to be wordy in all of his dialogues—this was no surprise—but it does get difficult to follow at times as a lot of the speech bubbles is focused on world-building, almost to the extent of it all being info-dumped on the reader. It also doesn’t particularly help when there isn’t that much time spent on each newly-introduced hero to help readers relate and care for them. However, with Immortal Man and his superhuman strength and telekinetic powers, Reload with his unlimited ammunition thanks to his ability to subtract time from an object, Ghost Fist who can draw out green lightning from his fingers, Timber who can grow in size and Stray who transforms into a ferocious giant humanoid cat-creature when angry, it’s safe to say that the group is quite eccentric and wild.
This series is however quite interesting with its connection to the infamous Nth metal and all of its world-building around the Immortal Houses (Action, Conquest, Expression, Wisdom and Harmony) but it packs way too much into one volume to be able to truly grab the readers attention. It also doesn’t help when the artwork continues to be shared between multiple artists after teasing the reader with the best one, Jim Lee, for the first couple issues. The marketing strategy behind this is saddening, but it is worth knowing that the other illustrators on this team aren’t bad at all and manage to maintain the explosive and colourful artwork of Jim Lee. To go with the heavy dialogue it is also worth noticing that the panels are purposely huge on each page, often verging closer to splash pages that let the artists draw to their heart’s content.
Coincidentally, recent news have announced that another series under the New Age of Heroes label has been cancelled: The Curse of Brimstone. Unfortunately, The Immortal Men is also a series that was cancelled a while back alongside Sideways. The lack of popularity for these series have freed up a couple of writers and artists and there wouldn’t be too much surprise if the rest of these series under the same umbrella fall like their comrades in the near future.
The Immortal Men: The End of Forever is the introduction to the DC Universe’s secret history in a razzle-dazzle, rowdy and wordy fashion.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!