As I noted yesterday, I concocted a massive write-up on digital only/digital first offerings for Thor's Comic Column which should be posted... well... any time now. In the column, what I didn't get in to much was Marvel or DC's digital firsts (but I've talked about them a bit here), nor did I get the opportunity to talk about Dark Horse Digital which is currently taking a nod from Comixology's Marvel #1 Project and offering 50 #1s for free (and no crazy emails and 48-hour time limit).
I liked the design of The Answer, which is kind of like Grendel, except he has a bold, white exclamation mark on his black face mask, but I wasn't really in the market for yet another superhero title when the series came out. But for free, certainly, I'd give it a shot.
It's kind of a bait and switch, this first issue, as the Answer is sort of your common-stock enigmatic powerless vigilante and not really the focal point. Instead it's Devin McKenzie, hyper-intelligent, over-educated librarian whose prompt triumph over a sequence of online brain teasers puts her in grave danger, and it's up to the Answer to save her. Devin is the book's narrative voice and where the Answer and his motives remain mysterious, Devin is broadly revealed, and I like her. Dennis Hopeless has found a great voice for her, giving her narrative duties. Hopeless sells her intellect without trying to hard, and without falling into the sociopathic trap.
I like the story and the set-up, the only thing I'm not sold on is The Answer as a character, but if he comes as a vehicle for delivering intriguing set-ups and fun supporting characters like this first mini, I may be on board. I'll definitely pull the second issue digitally (I'm not certain if DHD is using Comixology's guided view technology or their own in-house design, but the DHD version seems to work a lot more smoothly on Android than Comixology's buggy app).
What actually piqued my interest of the Answer first was the back and forth between Mike Norton and Francesco Francavilla, where Norton provided an illustration of the Black Beetle in the second issue of The Answer, and Francavilla responded in kind in the third issue of the Black Beetle. I like that kind of mutual appreciation. We don't see it enough.