Monday, May 5, 2014

The Hypernaturals by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning

SUPERHEROES (This should literally just hook you in since everyone loves a good hero book).

This graphic novel is set in the far future; the human race has expanded throughout the known galaxy and colonized it. Humans have preserved an era of prosperity and advancement that's only possible because of The Hypernaturals and the Quantinuum AI. The Hypernaturals are a celebrated, galaxy-wide superhero task force that keeps the peace and the AI is the all-knowing entity that has aided the advancement of civilization during this time.

The book is well written and the illustrations are beautiful. For other graphic novel nerds out there, the only way to describe this novel is like a cross between “Watchmen” and “Legion of Superheroes.” The quality of the illustrations is great and the dialogue of the characters is decent. Some of the language, however, may be difficult for some readers to understand since there’s wording of the overly scientific nature that may some scratching their heads (nerds and geeks alike love this stuff—I know I do).

Throughout the first volume, readers are introduced to various hypernaturals (super powered beings). What makes this novel unlike most of the hero books is that this future is not a Utopia. Even though there has been prosperity and technological innovations, there are flaws in the system and character flaws in the each of the heroes in The Hypernatural team. This is a great spin to the usually “perfect” reality that some heroes reside in. 

In a classroom setting, this novel would do well in a discussion on characters, more importantly, distinguishing a dynamic character from a static character. Also, introducing the class to the tragic hero. As mention, language may be difficult for some younger readers, so I would limit this to 8th grade well into Sophomore year of high school. 

Pros: Fun read. Illustrations were beautiful and they were created in such a way that they served more than just looking pretty. The illustrations were embedded with text that explained what the character was holding, what power they were using and helped identify characters (since there are flashback scenes, this comes in handy with the introduction of new heroes). 

Cons: this is a great and fun read but it is not the most scholarly nor academic book out there. It has limited use in the classroom and would require a very creative teacher to be able to incorporate. Also, there is a lack of full character development. 

If you want to get the first volume, here is the link to do so:

If you are unaware of or would like to know more about the Superhero trope, here is the link for that:

After reading that, if you would like to see some examples of ways that comic book heroes and their stories are actually rooted with deeper meanings, go to this link:

 Even though I did not mention this in the review, the AI is one of the big plot points in the first volume. I will not reveal its role in the story but here is a great link that discusses what would be the implications of an AI in real life:

Finally, continuing on this talk of AI and power struggles (in the Hypernatural's universe, there are super powered beings and a powerful AI, but all that power surely cannot be tamed). That reminds me of the following quote; "Absolute power corrupts absolutely." Go to this link to learn who said it and what it means:

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