Community Nooch's Comic Reviews

Would it be as great if it was known?

The Great Unknown #1
by Duncan Rouleau

Have you ever felt like you're smarter than everyone else around you, and yet you can't seem to turn all of those brains into success? You have all these grand ideas, but you can't seem to bring them to life. Or maybe you were already working on one of your grand ideas, and then, BAM! - someone else beats you to the punch and gets the credit. I think that decidedly falls under the category of what we would technically call "a bitch".

I've been in such situations more than once. My mind tends to run at a million miles per hour on occasion, and I often find myself thinking, "Hey, what an awesome concept!" And yet, something - too busy, too lazy, too distracted, too hungry, too sleepy, too handsome, gets in the way of me actually executing. That hasn't always been the case, as some of my mind-meanderings have brought me success when I had the opportunity and impetus to follow them. But then on some occasions, I've followed them, and then someone got there before me.

I swear I had the idea to write a story about people getting LOST on a mysterious time-traveling island years ago, but no one will believe me. I'll get you yet, JJ Abrams!

Okay, maybe I didn't come up with that concept, but there have been plenty of others over the years that I jumped on just a little too late. It's not as bad as Elisha Gray. "Who's that?" you ask. Well nobody knows outside of technology historians, because he got screwed out of his place in history. The legends vary slightly, but records show that he applied for a patent caveat for a machine that he called the "musical telegraph". Hours later, Alexander Graham Bell applied for a patent for a similar device, called a "harmonic telegraph".

You can guess who won that day, as Bell's name is pretty much synonymous with the invention of the telephone. Variations of the story indicate that Bell's team may have stolen Gray's specs in an early form of industrial espionage. Others claim that the patent examiner was an alcoholic, deeply in debt to Bell's lawyer. Again, I think we can all agree that this indeed would be "a bitch". Whatever the true events were, I think it's safe to assume that Gray was kicking himself over it.

Should he have worked faster on his design? Should he have made stronger connections at the patent office? How many other things could he have done to get recognized for his invention? I think I remember reading somewhere that his machine actually transmitted sound via a liquid medium. How different would our lives and infrastructure be if his patent won out that day?

This seems to be the concept behind The Great Unknown. This is brought to us by Duncan Rouleau, from Man of Action Studios, published through Image. It's the first of what's supposed to be a five-issue mini, and it has me hooked so far. We got the main guy, Zach, who seems to be the type that I mention above, who's way smart, but can't ever turn it into something worthwhile. He's got people in his life looking out for him, but they're getting fed up with having to bail him out all the time. What's the solution when someone you care about doesn't care about themselves? Hello, reality show, obviously! But then we see a shady figure who implies that there's a reason why Zach is so brilliant. Curiosity, you have been piqued.

I am recommending this book, despite not being a huge fan of Duncan Rouleau. I never liked his work when he was pencilling on Superman or Justice League. I just thought it was far too stylistic for the types of stories being told. I always thought of it as a poor man's Chris Bachalo or Humberto Ramos. It works much better in this book, prolly because he's executing his own vision, and not someone else's. I always have to give props to guys that are able to write and draw their own books, and still put out a quality product, which this totally is. The blue tones instead of a pure black and white evoke a distinct melancholy atmosphere to the story, and work well with the character's sarcastic attitude. Is that too talky? That sounds a little talky now that I'm reading it back. If it doesn't make sense to you, go back and read it again. If it still doesn't make sense to you, feel free to light your e-torches and flame me in the comments.

Who should read this book:
People who like modern sci-fi stories.
People who want more out of their life.
People who throw stones, despite living in a glass house.

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Nooch's Comic Reviews

More people should be reading comic books, dammit. As the resident comic book elitist, Nooch has made it his personal quest to get more noobs heading into their own dimly-lit comics dungeon every Wednesday to peruse the vastly under-rated world of sequential art.