COMIC REVIEW: CONUNDRUM / AUTHOR: DANNY MCLAUGHLIN / ARTIST: MICHAEL ARBUTHNOT / PUBLISHER: UPROAR COMICS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
At the height of a steampunk-influenced 20th Century, three men are on a collision course. Thomas Wilde is seeking answers to questions surrounding the murder of his father some years before at the hand of the mysterious and elusive killer Zener. This is also the time of the Ubermensch; a God-like man who survived a nuclear blast to be left with extraordinary powers. Destiny may decree when and how these three men meet, but who could possibly predict what the outcome will be?
Conundrum from Uproar Comics promises, from the prologue teaser, to live up to its title. But whether in a good way or a bad way is difficult to predict. So little is revealed that a multitude of questions are inevitable, demanding the reader’s curiosity; but what is known certainly intrigues. The most interesting element is that the writers state the ending was decided first, with the preceding story taking shape in keeping with that already determined finale. They also promise an interactive experience that will further immerse the reader in this parallel universe, and which could well be the comic’s selling point. It’s fair to say that the prologue doesn’t whet the appetite perhaps as much as intended but the promise of a more controllable plot could prove difficult to resist.
From a visual point of view, Conundrum is competent and clear without necessarily being strikingly bold. Simply put, there is nothing at all wrong with anything in particular; there is just the lack of a ‘wow’ factor that awards your eyes with imagery and colour. The dialogue also has a stunted quality and while this may be intentional it doesn’t flow as well as it might.
Ultimately, there is enough in this Conundrum teaser to warrant further attention and the producers must be admired for their ambition in trying to open what may well be a new genre; if the full version does deliver on its promises!