Unthinkable #1 – more novel than graphic

Unthinkable #1 (of 5) (Boom! – Sable / Tedesco)

They’ve been hired to think the UNTHINKABLE. But what happens when the unthinkable actually happens? After 9-11, best-selling author Alan Ripley joins a government think tank consisting of the most imaginative minds in diverse fields. Their job? Think of nightmare scenarios and crippling terrorist attacks so the government can safeguard against them. But what happens when the think tank folds, and the attacks start to happen? Find out in this new mini-series from hot writer Mark (TWO-FACE YEAR ONE, CYBORG) Sable and rising talent Julian Totino Tedesco.

It’s been a while since I got done reading a comic and felt stunned. Stunned from both the dark-conspiracy content and from how much effort I had to go through to get through the structure of the comic.

Let’s start with content, Alan Ripley (a very Tom Clancy type novelist) is recruited into the Think Tank, along with an expert hacker, a biochemist who focuses on outbreak epidemics, a Biblical End times prophecy expert, a military conspiracy theorist and a few others (sort of a 24 version of Gilligan’s Island). The purpose of this shadow organization is to help the US government come up with worse case nightmare scenarios after 9-11, so that the good guys have a play book in case any of these things were to happen.

Fast forward a few years, the Think Tank has ran it’s course, the government has shut it down and the individuals involved have gone back to their own fields and pursuing their own interests. Terrorist attacks start to happen in exactly the step-by-step way that the Think Tank predicted they would. So, it would seem the bad guys are using the play book they developed. Ripley needs to figure out what to do, who is behind this and how to stop them.

There’s the set up, let’s get to the structure of this book. The writing is well-laid out in big broad strokes and is incredibly intense. The weight of the story comes through in every description and in almost every frame. As the reader, you have to allow Mark Sable to take you where he is going and pay close attention. There is a lot that goes on in between frames and pages, in some case times passes very quickly with only a few words to clue the reader in. Sable is an excellent writer, but from the detail and flow of the plot, it almost feels like he is a thwarted novel author who wants to write a 450 page book but is forced to tell his story in this graphic format.

Tedesco’s art doesn’t do too much for me here, his out-of-the frame shifted style doesn’t really lend itself to helping the reader flow through the story in a linear fashion. Now, what his non-detailed frames within frames scenes do lend itself to is the “conspiracy theory” feel to the book, the fact that we as the readers know we do not have the whole picture.

This is a great beginning, let’s see what happens.

Grade: A-

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Updated: May 11, 2009 — 8:16 pm

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