Comic book canon, and inserting new things into it, often feels like a sort of mixed bag. At its best, these new changes don't even feel like changes at all, and just mold into the established world with ease. And while it's unclear exactly what role Immortal Men will take in the DC universe, this issue shows a pretty great amount of promise.
The series' first issue follows Cayden Park, a teenage boy whose life is essentially made better by the vivid dreams he has each night of a masked figure leading him and his friends out of an apocalyptic hellscape and to safety. But when Cayden wakes up, his life turns unbelievably ordinary -- until an array of characters step out of the shadows, looking to the boy for a very specific reason.
On the surface, The Immortal Men might seem like an odd thing to introduce into the DC Comics world right now, considering how many characters have been waiting for their Rebirth debut. But what this series, and its varied, weird ensemble brings, feels unique and promising.
Lee, Benjamin, and Tynion craft a story that's a little bit by the numbers on the surface, and essentially reads like the first act of a fantasy movie. But there are little moments where the plot can surprise you, and can marinate on certain emotions and feelings in an impactful way.
At the center of it all is Cayden, a protagonist who isn't perfect, but has room to grow. Odds are, fans will have some element of Cayden's arc in #1 that they relate to, something that will hopefully continue as the series goes along. The other heroes of the Immortal Men feel like intriguing additions too, assembling so close to effortlessly that you'd mistake them for a slightly more normal version of DC's Doom Patrol.
The issue's art is also a wonderful highlight, taking readers all across time and space, and saying a lot in the process. The varied character designs and intricate settings of the more fantasy-esque elements are where the issue largely shines. And the issue's more mundane sequences are presented way better than they would be expected to be, creating a slightly claustrophobic world that you and Cayden are both willing to escape from.
Playing right into that are Jeremiah Skipper and Alex Sinclair's colors, which bathe the series in some delightfully detailed reds and blues, and do so many things right that you can bypass occasionally weird shading. And Carlos M. Mangual's lettering is pretty effective, conveying a wide array of feelings and tones of voice, particularly with a certain Metal fan-favorite.
Immortal Men #1 doesn't completely take every risk you would imagine it to take, and that's totally OK. There are some characters who could use some further exploration, especially as the series continues to get its legs, but what's going on just feels so cinematically epic that you can't help but wonder what will happen next.
If anything, the biggest takeaway from Immortal Men #1 is not what it presents, but what it represents. Cayden's belief in this unseen, unbelievable group of heroes, and in their potential to help make the world a better place, feels weirdly poignant among a lot of real-life comic readers. Combined with wonderful art and a premise that teases just the right amount, there's hopefully enough to keep fans reading on.
Published by DC Comics
On April 11, 2018
Written by Jim Lee, Ryan Benjamin, and James Tynion IV
Inks by Scott Williams and Richard Friend
Color by Jeremiah Skipper and Alex Sinclair