Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Greg Pak
Artists: Khoi Pham & Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: Janice Chiang.
Dr. Kelly Vu and Dr. David Kim are about as close to each other as you can imagine. They can finish each other’s sentences, are deeply in love, and are both working together to essentially create immortality and connect people in ways never possible before. Unfortunately, these things can’t go smoothly in the DC universe. Writer Greg Pak, artist Khoi Pham, colorist Chris Sotomayor, and letterer Janice Chiang are here to introduce DC’s newest heroes in Duo #1
Dr. Kelly Vu and Dr. David Kim believe in doing good, and have created nanomachines that will connect people’s minds and allow them to heal each other’s damaged tissue. It’s a neat breakthrough, but there are some who don’t want this to become a reality. Following an attack, they are connected in a new way – They share a super-powered body.
Pak does an exceptional job of making it clear just how close the couple are. Through thoughtful dialogue and lovely scenes drawn by Khoi Pham, the characters’ relationship feels sincere and genuine. The concept of two heroes sharing the same body isn’t novel, but it does at least feel fresh here.
The themes of capitalism and connection are explored thoroughly in this issue, but the pacing does suffer as a result. The disaster that leads to the heroes’ bonding feels rushed, and that feeling continues through the second half of this debut. The mental connection that the two share becomes harder to follow, making it easy for readers to disconnect from the immersion that the first half gives. The end result is a sequence that should hook the reader, but instead frustrates.
Khoi Pham’s art throughout the issue looks fantastic. The characters and their poses look great, with expressive faces that carry the narrative. The backgrounds are full of detail, but they don’t distract the reader from the action either. The character designs are nice, and this issue is full of diversity.
Chris Sotomayor’s coloring adds a lot to the issue in terms of depth and establishing tone. Cool colors surround the panels when the protagonists are connecting, while furious reds add urgency to the action scenes. The nanomachines almost look like fire during the disaster sequence, making the scene even more harrowing. Janice Chiang’s lettering compliments the script well with some creative choices that give a voice to everyone, including the antagonistic force that stalks the heroes.
Duo #1 focuses on the emotional connection of the characters, and the creative team nails that. The pacing is frustrating though, especially in the second act, holding this debut back from truly pulling the reader in. Still, with the characters and premise established, there is tons of potential for this series to astound next month.
Duo #1 has some wonderful moments, but is held back by frustrating pacing during the second half.