It’s no mystery that Mike Norton can tell a good story with his artwork, but with an assist from Dennis Hopeless, Norton’s work on “The Answer!” #1 is a decent offering with Norton putting out more than great artwork. While the art is threatened to be choked out by caption boxes in some places, nothing critical is covered and the art simply depicts static images in those cases, so I’m willing to overlook those instances and accept the flow of the story, the exposition and the overall narrative.
Rather than receive an info dump on the titular hero (or antihero) of the series, Norton and Hopeless introduce the adventures of the Answer to Devin MacKenzie, a librarian. The issue opens with Devin in peril, but we don’t even learn her first name until five pages in and aren’t given her entire name until late in “The Answer!” #1, due to the self-reflective structure that frames the beginning of the story in the physical middle of the comic book.
Rather generic heroics, but Hopeless and Norton tease enough and drop in enough mystery with the gift Devin receives from her mother and its connection to Apeiron, an organization led by extremely charismatic presenter Chip Carney. The mystery of how this all ties in with the Answer is not clear, but I’m certain more will be revealed in the three remaining issues of the series. However, “The Answer!” #1 isn’t all mystery, and contains lighthearted scenes, horrific beats and gigantic moments of action. One scene brings the Answer onto location with a nod to Robocop, but Hopeless and Norton quickly reveal to the reader that the hero of this series is not an automaton.
Norton’s art is solid and crisp. The artist is smart about choosing his details, framing his panels and constructing the pages of “The Answer!” #1. Some of the panels are a little dense with caption boxes, but Norton has enough sense to design those panels to accommodate the captions. Mark Englert’s colors and Crank!’s lettering round out the package to make “The Answer!” #1 a better-than-average looking superhero comic book capable of being enjoyed regardless of text. It helps that Hopeless is onboard, and even more importantly, the entire creative team simply gels on this initial offering.
There is enough here to prove interesting, but I think it’s going to take more than “The Answer!” #1 to solve the question of whether this is a very good story or simply another comic book starring Generic Man. The Answer hasn’t given much to identify with, but this comic is fun.