Evil Geek Book Report – The Answer! #1

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After I returned from last year’s New York Comic Con I was haunted by a superhero I had seen at one of the booths. He had a black body suit and a white exclamation point on his face mask. The costume stood out to me immediately. I meant to go back and find out what he was all about, but I got swept up in the crowd. When I returned home I kept thinking about it but I couldn’t find any information on it whatsoever. I even went as far as to post about it hoping someone else know what I was talking about. Luckily, one reader did. It turns out ironically enough what I was looking for was The Answer!

What I found out was that The Answer! was created by artist/co-writer Mike Norton with Doug Hopeless serving as the other co-writer. A 4 issue mini-series was being published by Dark Horse and the first issue was on the way in January. Now that issue #1 has officially hit the stands I finally had a chance to read and review the masked man whose image affected me in such a strong way. So what are we waiting for? Let’s get to it.

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From the opening page we are introduced to 30 year old Devin Mackenzie, a highly intelligent librarian with a penchant for puzzles. These appeal to her not just for the thrill of the challenge but because of their finite ending. For her 30th birthday her mom bought her a Rubik’s Cube type object that is much bigger and more complex but looks like something dug out of a Mayan temple by Indiana Jones. Once she completes it thinking that she’s done it cracks open with a slip of paper inside that has a website for Apeiron printed on it.

Readers are left unsure what Apeiron is except for an interlude with a creepy new age self-help style seminar led by a man with a soul patch. The scene is reminiscent of Shooter McGavin’s parts in Donnie Darko where you feel uneasy right off the bat but you’re not sure why. Devin accesses the Apeiron website only to find out the actual Rubik’s Cube thing was only a test, the real challenge/puzzle takes place on the website.

As Devin’s clicking away and deciphering the clues a masked man with an exclamation point on his head piece bursts into the library to warn her she has 4 minutes to escape before gunmen will track her down. She is quite obviously freaked out and doesn’t trust The Answer! but when a tear gas canister explodes into the hallway she has no choice but to follow him.

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They make haste down the building’s fire escape and we see a bunch of Cobra type terrorists with large guns pursuing them. The Answer! springs into action and kicks the holy hell out of them. He gives Devin two bus tickets out of town and forces her to leave immediately. As she’s fleeing she catches a glimpse of The Answer! taking a gun blast point blank to the head. Two hours later, no doubt paralyzed by fear and adrenaline she falls asleep on the bus as The Answer! takes the seat next to her.

This first issue was highly enjoyable with more than enough mystery and intrigue to come back for issue #2. What is Apeiron? Are they issuing these “toys” to find the best and brightest? Then once you log onto their website they track your IP address and kidnap you? Much like Dark Horse’s other recent first issue, The Black Beetle I love that we know nothing about The Answer! All the old familiar characters like Spider-Man or Batman we know everything about them, we know all their secrets both in and out of their costume. It’s refreshing to have a hero who is still an enigma. A puzzle perhaps that Devin will slowly be able to decipher?

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What will undoubtedly keep me coming back though is what drew me to the book in the first place. The Answer!’s costume design and Mike Norton’s art direction. I’m not sure if I can really explain it, but I’m fascinated by it. I love how in some panels you can actually see the anatomy of his face behind the mask. Think about it, when was the last time you saw a costume with a full head mask that didn’t have some kind of eye hole or eye slot?

I applaud your work on this title gentleman and look forward to reading more. Well played.

All images and characters depicted are copyright of their respective owners.

About Biff Tannen

Film Noir, Pulp, Comic Books and Hitchcock.

Posted on February 5, 2013, in COMICS!, Evil Geek Book Report, Reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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