Review by Ian Keogh
The Hypernaturals opens with an energy rush introducing the most loved teenage super team of the future foiling the plans of an especially smarmy villain, an engagement packed with technological gobbledigook. Thankfully Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning are just messing, and bring us back down to Earth. The important information is that most of the team are missing, and it’s very likely they’re dead, which means reserves, retired members and previously unsuccessful tryout candidates are recruited to investigate.
Abnett and Lanning once wrote The Legion of Super-Heroes, so have experience with super teens in the future, and because there are some similarities this has the feeling of a story they at least sketched out for that title. However, The Hypernaturals is considerably more imaginative, and the lack of an established cast beefs up the tension. The use of superpowers is creative, and seeing the impossibly fast-moving world of the Hypernaturals through new recruits supplies the appropriate sense of wonder and awe, and the constant sense of danger. The team members who weren’t part of the fatal mission suspect their greatest enemy to be responsible as their signature is apparent, but Sublime is securely locked away far from anywhere he can influence. As more former members are introduced, we gradually learn what Sublime did in the past, which is creative and horrific. Is he responsible for the mess in the present, though?
To draw the future we have Tom Derenick and Andres Guinaldo taking on alternate sequences. Both tend to crowd their pages, but convey an impression of an inordinately busy world where movement is constant, although it also seems to be populated by nothing other than humanoids. Guinaldo impresses with use of effects, while Derenick’s the more traditional artist.
It’s a page-turner, and the ending comes too soon, and with the hint of problems to come in Volume Two. It should also be noted that the creators continue to build their world away from the story pages, including adverts, magazine articles and other paraphernalia featuring the team members or items noted in-story.