A misconception about comic books is that they are only about superheroes and thus are only made for children or teenagers. However, while the majority of comics are superhero-related, there are dozens of other books that fit different genres. There is horror, fantasy, mystery and even romance comics. The misconception that comics are for children and teenagers is not true. The publisher of the new one-shot “The Unexpected,” Vertigo Comics which is an imprint from DC Comics, makes mature stories for mature readers. Some of their most popular books include the critically acclaimed series, Fables (written by Bill Willingham), American Vampire by Scott Snyder, and The Sandman Series by Neil Gaiman.
“The Unexpected” is a little different from most comics. It is a one-shot, which is a stand-alone comic that is not part of any other series. It also is a collection of short stories that are written and drawn by several artists and writers. Each story is unique and has its own style.
The Great Karlini (5 Stars)
This story is about a man who has a knack for getting out of tough situations. However he tends to push his luck a little too far sometimes and ultimately gets him into trouble. This whole story is told through the point of view of the main character, Karlini. We aren’t told a thing about his past and, to be honest, this really works. It makes the character interesting and makes the reader want to know more about him.
Sadly, we find out that Karlini is not just a deceptive man on stage but off stage as well. This leads to his death, which is very creative and ultimately satisfying once the reader knows what he did and to whom. The story is a very simple tale of deception and revenge and the artwork is done well.
Dogs (4 Stars)
Dogs are a very simple story, but it is very strange. It begins with a murder of a young woman who was found by a local dog. While everyone in the town knows who murdered her, no one is speaking to the police. Things take a turn for the weirder when the dog that found the young woman’s body starts looking for answers. After this, the other dogs in the town start taking revenge on the people in the town that abused them and others who don’t deserve it, and they soon take over the town. After the dogs take over the town and start acting more human, the humans start acting like animals. While this story is interesting and done very well, it is definitely creepy when the dogs don’t talk. Overall the story is definitely good and interesting.
Look Alive (2 1/2 Stars)
While illustrated well this story isn’t as weird or twisted as the previous two stories. We know right from the start that something isn’t right with our main character, and we know that she is some sort of murderer. While there was a mild surprise about how she kills her victims, the plot was a little predictable.
The Land (3 1/2 Stars)
The Land was definitely an interesting story but I felt that it would have benefitted from being lightly longer because, just when things get interesting, they end. The story centers on a farmhand who discovers the body of his employer’s grandson. However, his employer quickly suspects him and so do the police. This probably has to do with the fact that the story takes place in Texas after the Mexican-American War, and the farmhand’s employer is racist towards him. There are a lot of interesting and weird moments in this story, like who the farmhand finds out how the boy was killed by cows. Also, the reveal of whom or what exactly killed the boy is very interesting. The story could only benefit from being a bit longer.
A Most Delicate Monster (5 Stars)
This story was unexpectedly one of my favorite stories in the comic. A scientist manages to find a way to bring a couple of cavemen into the future. He is brainwashing them by telling them that things that bring us normal people enjoyment such as amusement parks are bad and that the only person they can trust is he. As I was reading this, I thought to myself, “This story has been done before,” but when the scientist brings one of them to a water park “to test his faith,” the twist comes at you and hits you hard so that you don’t really don’t expect it. Also to be honest I wish that this were part of a series and not just a short story.
Family First (5 Stars)
Like the story before it, Family First definitely throws you for a loop and has a really interesting, and for a lack of a better word, twisted twist. We are introduced to a brother and sister who are survivors of a post-apocalyptic world and are hiding from a man who at first it seems want to kill them and steal their supplies. But like I said before, there is a twist here and it is done very well. Once you see the ending you realize just who exactly the messed up ones are in this story.
Alone (3 Stars)
Just like Look Alive, this story is done really well artistically, but the story just raises more questions than it should. It’s about a man whose girlfriend constantly thinks he is cheating on her with another woman. When he goes out to get her cigarettes, he drives off a cliff. Even though he apparently died, he is somehow still able to see what his girlfriend is doing after his “death.” Questions arise towards the end when we see that the girlfriend had another lover though we never get any warning that she was cheating on him and there is no way to know that any time has passed except for the panel transitions. Sometimes twists just confuse the reader and add more questions than answers to the story, and this one falls into that problem.
Americana (1 Star)
This one out of all the stories in this comic, is probably the most boring and lackluster. It is about a young girl and how she and her mom have to travel and survive during war that we only hear about it in her narration boxes. We also see that her life goes on and how she has to do the same with her daughter.
We also see her as an old woman and apparently the only survivors of this war are her and her family, which are all women. So what does that mean? Those women are the only ones that can survive an apocalypse? There are some panels where the story looks like its going to be interesting but instead just falls flat. The artwork is the only thing that saves this story.
Blink (2 Stars)
This story overall is really confusing and isn’t as entertaining as some of the other stories in this comic. To be honest, it is a little hard to figure out what the story is about. From what I got from is it is about how Voodoo started in New Orleans and how even after many tragic events, it somehow finds a way back into their culture. Again, like Americana, the art is really good and it is interesting to see how Voodoo started but, again, the story was really confusing and didn’t really make sense. This is only a preview of a new series, so maybe some of the questions will be answered there.
Overall Rating: 3 1/2 Stars
This was definitely a different read than most comics that I have read and while some of the stories weren’t that great, the majority of them were well done. Also, this one-shot is very expensive. It was $7.99, whereas most comics go for $2.99. Despite that though, it was entertaining and it was nice to read something other than superhero stuff for once.