Despite containing an engaging history of Elligh, “the prince of an advanced society of creatures known as Orcks”, at the very start of this twenty-page periodical, Steve Orlando’s script for Issue Three of “The Unexpected” must have utterly bewildered its audience in August 2018 with its dialogue-heavy dabblings upon Blackhawk Island and subsequent sojourn to Siberia’s secretive Monster Valley. In fact, June Robbins baffling gobbledygook concerning “a machine whose only function was to signal loved ones when you passed” and brief recollection of the Chronokinetic disaster which “all but wiped the Orcks from time” is so cumbersomely penned that it arguably would have deterred many a perusing bibliophile from traversing deeper into this comic and accompanying Neon the Unknown into the dinosaur-infested “sunken refuge one mile deep where, impossibly, it is still the Cretaceous Period.”
Unhappily however, even Colin Nomi’s adventure in the ‘Land That Time Forgot’ is rather poorly plotted, with the “infamous Burnside artist” being inexplicably ambushed by the formidably powerful Onimar Synn himself. Just how the Thanagarian tyrant happened to locate the defender of the multiverse when the molecular manipulator’s location is supposedly “silent and unknown to even its monstrous guardians” is never explained by the GLAAD Media Award-nominee, and resultantly smacks of little more than a lazy contrivance rather than the cataclysmic confrontation this comic’s dynamic cover illustration would try to suggest.
Of course, no matter how disappointing the New Yorker’s writing may debatably be, it must still have been hard for this book’s followers not to enjoy the sense-shattering surprise of a giant Brontadon momentarily flattening Neon’s startled opponent under the large reptilian beast’s massive girth; “You sicced a dinosaur on him?” Yet even this ‘highlight’, timed to perfection as both the “blind leader” and Firebrand appear to have finally been bested, is soon overshadowed by Orlando’s obsession to over complicate matters by depicting Synn waxing lyrical about “the renovation of your corpse to the Necrophists” and bewildering request for a Necropsy-chariot in order to aid “two for astral sublimation!”
Potentially this book’s biggest strength is therefore in the artwork of Cary Nord, which whilst a little inconsistent in its portrayal of the Challenger, Robbins, undoubtedly captures the pulse-pounding fisticuffs which ensues following the Nth metal-hungry dictator’s revelation to this comic’s leading cast that his bones contain “thousands of fragile souls”. Packed full of the sort of punch one might expect from a publication featuring a character who must “start fights to stay alive” and another who controls “gravity itself”, the Canadian penciler’s panels fortunately bring all the majestic might of such a formidable contest to sense-shattering life.