Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thursday Follows Wednesday #2

Wednesday Comics #2 – Overall rating: 4 whiskers.

If I’m any judge of gauging reactions as I’ve traveled around the ‘Net I’d say DC has a winner on their hands with WEDNESDAY COMICS. Oh, there were a few quibbles over the format – as if there wasn’t a ton of explanation before hand – and a few stink bombs about the price – I get it that money’s an issue, as it is with me – but I wholeheartedly believe I’m getting my money’s worth here with the amount of paper, the talent, the storytelling and only one ad. And I understand and appreciate the history of the format. I feel as if I’m walking in the footsteps of my father, my grandfather, great-grandfather, etc. That’s a pretty cool feeling.

This week brings some improvements to a few of the more lacking strips and a couple o’ nice surprises to others. Let’s dig right in, shall we? We shall!

BATMAN4 whiskers. Bruce Wayne attends a funeral and falls head over heels for a widow. This is the way I think it should be for all the strips: introduce your hero the first week and start playing around with the set-up thereafter. It was very cool to see Bruce enter the story – a facet of Batman I never get enough of – and a good glimpse into Bruce’s “life.” I’m assuming his callous remarks about the widow are simply to maintain his status as a shallow playboy; regardless, he’s got some new trouble on his hands of which I’m betting it’s all a trap to snare him like Franklin Glass before him.

KAMANDI5 whiskers. Kamandi greets an old friend but crosses paths with a horde of savage mutated animals. The perfect strip, hands down. I love its continued emulation of such classics as “Prince Valiant” with the dialogue in the text and not in balloons – and can Ryan Sook’s art get any more gorgeous and illustrative? I honestly think this is a strip that Kirby’d be proud of – and it’s what he originally intended, his DC creations begun by him put continued by others. This is one exciting and charming exercise in comics.

SUPERMAN4 whiskers. Superman heads to Gotham City for some advice but his words fall on unsympathetic ears. Wow! Didn’t see THAT one coming! Batman’s appearance here ups the ante for me on this strip and Bermejo’s supplying a Dark Knight that crouches and snarls and glowers. Two caveats here: Superman should have been way past such feelings a long time ago and his departure came off as petulant. Still, a good-looking strip and the dialogue’s handled well. But poor widdle Supes!

DEADMAN4 whiskers. Boston Brand tells his spiritual benefactor to stuff it and steps into deep doo-doo. Nice confrontation here between Deadman and Rama Kushna, giving the reader an idea of the forces at play in his ghostly world. Kind of chilling when she says his “mere existence” is at her “discretion.” But Boston’s headstrong – gotta love ‘im – and leaps when he should think. Looks like everything’s going to Hell in a red and white handbasket…

GREEN LANTERN4 whiskers. Green Lantern shows us what he’s made of and astronaut Dillon gets the mother of all headaches. Okay, this is what I’m talkin’ ‘bout: GL action. Ring-slingin’, baby. And against Russkie spy-warriors. It looked great, reads as well and the stuff with Joe Dillon is interesting. Is he going to become one of Hal’s rogues’ gallery? I dunno, but consider my interest piqued and my outlook on this strip changed for the better.

METAMORPHO3 ½ whiskers. Rex and Co. enter an ancient temple. Okay, didn’t really see this coming, either. Basically, its one very large panel with a weird little extra added bonus at the bottom. Clearly, Gaiman and Allred are going to be playing fast and loose with this strip – and they should – but I think there’s a bit of a mis-fire here. There wasn’t much that happened last week; not much happens here. If that’s the intention, that the art is the draw and whatever else is just along for the ride, well, okay, I guess. I did dig the fantasy of the MFA at the bottom, really, but…I’m waiting to see if this’ll be the norm for this page. Nice try with the logo, btw.

TEEN TITANS2 whiskers. The Titans fight Trident and must be saved by their elders. I was going to give this strip an extra half whisker this week for actually getting on with it but I deducted it for calling Trident a toothpaste instead of a gum. Weird thing is that Berganza’s an EDITOR. Huh.

STRANGE ADVENTURES4 whiskers. Adam Strange is forced to play a different tune but has something else up his sleeve. I like this strip. I think I like it even a bit more than last week. Pope’s creating a balance of conventionality and the avant garde that not only fits the strip but fits the overall concept of WEDNESDAY COMICS. If you’re an Edgar Rice Burroughs fan, as well as a Julius Schwartz fan, I don’t think you could go too wrong with this. Fun stuff. Blue monkeys rock.

SUPERGIRL3 whiskers. Supergirl’s pets create more havoc. Second verse same as the first. I think I have it now: this is the humor strip. This is the light-hearted story for fun and frivolity. And it fills that role fairly well, too. Nice to look at, relatively innocuous; I have no real complaints about it nor passionate feeling, either. I was glad they mentioned the amount of property damage, though.

METAL MEN4 ½ whiskers. The Metal Men stop the bankrobbers but face Doc Magnus’ ire as well as the security cop’s gun. Yeah, baby: that’s some Metal Men right there. THAT’S what I wanted last week. Metal Men action and hijinks and goofy one-liners and Tina’s crush on Will and Will’s complete exhaustion over what do with these crazy-ass robots he’s created. DiDio kicks it in this week and dammit, I want to know why that cop is pointing a gun at them. Oh, and btw, that kid is a-okay in my book. Mercury’s orange coloring is not. Must be some wacked-out thermometers in the Mulvihill household.

WONDER WOMAN1 whisker. Diana goes through water and talks to more animals and thinks she’s dreaming again. Does that sound right? Listen: I wanted to give this strip a completely new, even fairer chance after my disappointment last week. It squandered that chance. Everything it did wrong last time it did wrong this time. I just don’t believe this is the place for an experimental take on Wonder Woman – save it for a graphic novel. Hell, there’s no Wonder Woman even in it. There are tiny panels, tiny lettering, horrible colors and boring happenings. I am sorry, Mr. Caldwell, truly, but I don’t care about whatever’s going on here. Please make me care. Where’s the myth? Where‘s the WONDER?

SGT. ROCK AND EASY CO.4 whiskers. Rock gets another chance to speak but holds his tongue. Kubert’s really the master, isn’t he? Can anyone else make war comics look this brutal, this visceral, yet this grandiose? You have to LOVE Rock’s bravado in the face of the ultimate beating. That alone was worth the turning of the page. And glad to see some of Easy Co. enter the story, too.

FLASH COMICS5 whiskers. Iris wants to leave but the Flash enters into some supreme weirdness. I have this strip pegged now, too: it’s the romance comic of the book. I totally dig that, especially since the crazy-ass stuff that happens this week puts it into something more like “Dark Shadows” territory. I mean, Flash meets himself and fights himself over a note on a piece of paper? And kudos to Kerschl and Co. for tying these two strips together the way they do. I love that. Its fun, its flashy and its one of my favorites. More! More!

THE DEMON AND CATWOMAN4 ½ whiskers. Catwoman pilfers the goods and a certain demon’s not too happy about it. Like I said last week, the fun here is the idea of Selina getting into a situation that’s far, far out of her league. I really liked the oddity of Jason’s home – another nod to “Dark Shadows” in a way – and I’m glad to see Etrigan so soon. Half a point off for some confusion as to what exactly is going on in the last panel: is the Demon howling or the wolves or both?

HAWKMAN5 whiskers. Hawkman approaches the hijacked plane and must contend with both captors and captives. This is a rough Hawkman. He throws his “army” into harm’s way and damn the cost. On the other hand, he charmingly and engagingly gives a little girl a cherry thumbs-up. This strip continues to amaze me. I think perhaps this could actually be good for the character once all is said and done. And that’d be a miracle.

Two weeks in and already there are calls for a continuation, a sequel. I think people are seeing the magic of the format and the quality that DC’s pouring into it. It’s an enjoyable experience.

Mr. Wednesday Wanty – wants to like TEEN TITANS and WONDER WOMAN, no fake, but sense the rest of the community marshalling their forces behind him in support of his negativity. But the calls for the two strips to be dropped and replaced with something else? Heh. It’s a done deal, Bunky. This ain’t an ongoing.

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