The Hypernaturals #1: Legion Gone Indie

Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning go cosmic once again, this time with a new spin on the Legion of Super-Heroes concept.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Hypernaturals #1

When you think of a regiment of super-powered peacekeepers in a far-flung cosmic future, you tend to think of DC's Legion of Super-Heroes. When you think of cosmic comics in general, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning shouldn't be far from your mind, given their popular work with the Annihilation series at Marvel. Put those two together, and you've got The Hypernaturals #1, a new DnA book at Boom Studios featuring art from Brad Walker, Andres Guinaldo, Mark Irwin and Mariano Taibo.

Just so you're not confused about that many artists, Walker handles the first 6 pages, Guinaldo & Irwin handle Page 7, and then Taibo replaces Irwin for the rest.

The concept here is summed up pretty neatly on the first page, while also introducing us to the advanced Quantinuum concept, where the interplanetary internet system seems to be so integral to everyday life that its almost revered as a god. "Oh my Quant!" someone even exclaims, and time is measured in years since the Quantinuum – it is now the year 100 A.Q., for example. The Hypernaturals are a celebrated group of champions selected to serve for five year terms before a new group is selected.

The first team we see is from seven years prior – a speedster named Bewilder, a brainiac named Thinkwell, a burly gunsmith called Clone 45, a glass lady named Shard, and some scientist-looking bloke with Wolverine's head called Kobalt Blue, all teaming up to fight a megalomaniacal Class-13-hyper-intellectual villain named Sublime who wants to kill the Qunatinuum with the power of his stolen "Nephilim Fragment."

Then it's all a dream of the modern-day retired Clone 45, aka Hatch Groman, who wakes up in a crappy apartment. So right away, we're not sure if we're in actual reality or a world changed by Sublime's machinations. We see Hatch's ex-wife Bewilder, aka Creena Hersh, is running the Hypernaturals squad of today – and is also having a secret inappropriate relationship with one of them – and the current team has just vanished on their first mission, forcing Poul to step back into the Thinkwell role and Hersh to call up a couple of second-stringers – a kid named Oz Sheppard who goes by Shoal, who "can generate and control a swarm of U.H.M. exotic particles… strangelets" (oh, DnA do love their clever little techno-buzzwords… *koffartillicakoff*) and a girl named Deedee Cadiz, who believes she lost out on getting to wear the Halfshell armor because she's not skinny enough (and later, we see that the Halfshell armor is basically a bikini with a helmet and boots). Kudos to DnA for actually introducing the concept of body types into a comic book, even if Deedee is just slightly thicker than average.

The concepts are cool and intriguing, the art is fairly snazzy and DnA do know how to work in large-scale interstellar settings. The Hypernaturals #1 is far more approachable than any Legion of Super-Heroes book I've ever read, and it already seems to have an undercurrent of compelling drama that tends to be lacking from LSH (at least what little I've read in my attempts to get into it). These heroes aren't quite shiny and happy, but they're aspiring to it, as far as we know now. Definitely worth a look.