A team of four young superheroes (plus the man who brought them all together) sworn to protect the world from the havoc wreaked by a mad scientist's evil schemes, battle against cybernetic animals and uncover devious plots while learning how to develop their powerful skills.
I will admit, when I first picked The Intrepids off the shelf, I was intrigued. A squad of superheroes fighting off a giant, cybernetically enhanced purple bear? Yes, please! What finalized the deal was the tagline, “Mad scientists are a disease. Meet the cure.” I'm sold.
The story starts off with a flashback from the main character Crystal's perspective and moves directly into a modern-day mission gone wrong. In a nice change of pace, the action immediately captures the reader’s attention before moving right into introductions of the crew and their individual skills. Rather than break out captions to state who they are, it's built in to show through the situation and dialogue. Since it's done early, the reader isn't forced to sit there and wonder who's talking. There's the typical leader, the physically capable strong man, the infiltrator/thief/assassin (who, oddly enough, has a jetpack) and the geeky, technologically savvy one. The team setup isn't the most creative, but I'll let it slide for the moment since it is a proven recipe for success
As you'd expect, by the end of the mission, two of the team end up stuck on the roof when the cyborg bear shows up. Bringing up the memory of a lesson learned from her benevolent benefactor, Crystal was able to bring down the bear with one shot. Unfortunately, the whole ordeal was rather anticlimactic and cheesy. Of course, everyone lives through the dangerous situation and meets up back at the headquarters where we officially meet Dante, the mastermind who brought them all together. This is the part where we learn the real plot: a mad scientist named Doctor Koi is using experimental technology on animals for an unknown reason.
Not exactly very creative, is it? Wait, it gets worse.
Roughly 20 years ago, Dante was partnering with Koi to develop cybernetic limbs. As with all new inventions, they argued over whether to use the limbs to benefit people with problems or to sell them to the military for money -- the age-old debate of using something for the greater good or personal gain. After the limb was finished, Koi set the lab on fire and stole all the research, so Dante swore to protect the world from Koi's evil schemes.
The retro aspect of the artwork was a breath of fresh air, so if you're looking for something with a little variance, this would be a perfect place to start. However, while it is a nice blend of old and new styles, there's an inconsistency throughout the story and the style changes aren't fluid. The characters change drastically and seemingly at random, especially Dante. Not just wrinkles and hair, but the way entire characters are drawn. I get the feeling that the artist was trying different art styles and ran out of time, so he just threw them all together.
Needless to say, I was a little disappointed. I was hoping for something that hadn't been done a million other times, or at least had a little variation. Not only that, apparently the team doesn't actually have powers, they're just augmented using Dante's technology. I was expecting something a little different, but the lack of powers isn't entirely a bad thing. It works for Batman, right? The animal experimentation was fascinating, though -- they could get some really interesting stuff going in that direction. After all, the bear was what effectively drew me to the cover.
Overall, The Intrepids wasn't as good as I thought it would be. While it's far from the worst I've read, it needs a little more variation in the plot and a little less variation in the artwork. It does have potential, though, and it is only the first issue, so I'm remaining hopeful for future releases.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Jason Sacks also reviewed The Intrepids #1. Read his thoughts, too!
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