Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Thursday Follows Wednesday #3

Wednesday Comics #3 – Overall rating: 4 whiskers.

Continuing with my informal, unscientific poling of message boards I’m seeing a lot of disdain for the “Teen Titans” and “Wonder Woman” strips in WEDNESDAY COMICS, a situation that doesn’t exactly fill me with glee – I want the entire project to succeed – but I think it confirms that I’m not crazy at least. How did those two stories fare this week along with the rest of the continuing adventures of The World’s Greatest Heroes?

Let’s find out. Together. Just you and me. Pull up a chair, pal.

BATMAN4 ½ whiskers. Batman eavesdrops on a domestic squabble, delving further into a mysterious case. This strip continues to surprise me. Lots of subtle things going on here but the stand-out thought in my mind is that Batman’s stuck on the outside looking inside on a private life, however disgusting, that’s lost to him. One of the nicest touches is Batman’s doubled-up fist when witnessing the slap; the lady may be a tramp but she’s a human being nonetheless. Violence, though often the Caped Crusader’s tool, is something that boils his insides. What a moody piece this is. Bravo.

KAMANDI5 whiskers. Kamandi and Tuftan escape the rats and go sailing away with another ally. I was really hoping Dr. Canus would show up sooner than later and was not disappointed by his arrival this week. Again, Sook uses the huge playing field to great advantage and with a nice arranging of panels gives the airship a beautiful introduction. The richness of Kirby’s world is given full flower this time and the perky glimpse of beauty and beasts in the final panel make me thrill for more. Beautiful colors, btw.

SUPERMAN3 ½ whiskers. Superman’s still troubled by thoughts of being an alien and flies home for a taste of what really matters. I think perhaps this week’s entry provides the nicest art of the three installments but I’m still wondering – lightly – where this is going. I appreciate the look at Clark’s two worlds, both of Metropolis and Lois and the Kent’s Smallville, but there’s something about Arcudi’s abrupt endings that bugs me. Could it be he feels a “To Be Continued” or a “Next Week” would be out of place in the strip? Regardless, it’s interesting that the character with the greatest power and action potential of WEDNESDAY COMICS has one of the quietest strips of the lot.

DEADMAN4 ½ whiskers. Deadman’s attempt at possession sends him hurtling into the abyss, only to find someone with an axe to grind at the bottom. Turning the page to this strip was one of the highlights of the issue. What a loaded gun that was! I liked Boston’s inner struggle between helping the girl and the idea of welcoming her into the spirit world. Interesting stuff. And why is Deadman “alive” at the end and who is “Kalak”? Count on me to be right here next week to find out…

GREEN LANTERN4 whiskers. No sooner does Green Lantern enter as Hal Jordan then he exits again as GL – to save a friend-turned-monster! There’s an underlying humor in this strip that not only compliments the action but the art, too. Hal’s friend perk up when he enters and that in itself is a joy to behold, though Carol Ferris is less than impressed – supposedly. What’s up with astronaut Joe Dillon? I dunno – but boy is he ugggggllllyyy! Note: Colors were a bit too somber this week, I thought.

METAMORPHO3 whiskers. Rex and Co. enter an ancient temple. Sound like the description for last week? It is; good spotting. If this one giant panel thing continues – this is the second week of it – I may have to reassess my enjoyment of this strip. Oh, it looks GREAT but does nothing at all for the narrative. It’s almost as if Allred’s more concerned with showing off his panoramic powers than telling a story, as if Gaiman thinks he has more than twelve parts to spin a yarn and why hurry with the spinning? Guys, c’mon. Metamorpho is a FANTASTIC character with a FANTASTIC supporting cast – don’t use up your precious few installments with pretty pictures alone. DO something. And Java isn’t erudite or poetic – what’s up with that? And as cute as the MFA panel is it doesn’t mean the rest of the strip gets a pass. Give us some meat.

TEEN TITANS2 ½ whiskers. The Titans seek aid from the medics but Trident’s still on their tails. I must admit that while overall I continue to not care for this strip at least something happens this week. I sort of like the idea of S.M.A.S.H. but that art is am eyesore and the cast is completely uninspiring. Who are these characters? Why are they together? What do they do, other than get their asses handed to them? Before I forget, that “Yamato” cartoon or whatever called and wants their flying submarine back.

STRANGE ADVENTURES4 ½ whiskers. While Allana’s led to the larder Adam gets in touch with the Zeta beam and – disappears. Ladies and gentlemen, I think this story might just be the one that’s running under everyone’s radar and I submit here and now that it’s worthy of much, much more attention then its getting. It’s good. Very good. And it’s so pulpy, so in tune with the early days of science fiction that it makes it a joy for an old school fan like me to read. The whole bit with the Zeta energy harkens back to classic stuff like the “Lensman” novels and all those seminal uses of mind powers in pulp days. Pope really knows what he’s doing here and surprising me every issue. May be one of the best things he’s ever done.

SUPERGIRL3 whiskers. Krypto calms down and joins Supergirl in the quest for Streaky. Again, this strip isn’t really bad or really good – it just is. Its fun, sure, and it’s drawn in a fun manner and if you like the Super Pets like I do than bonus. Personally, I think we didn’t need the last panel of Supergirl telling us exactly what we can see is happening in the penultimate panel but, hey, that’s probably just me.

METAL MEN4 ½ whiskers. One of the bank robbers takes a hostage and the Metal Men are put between a rock and a hard place. The Little Woman pointed out to me that there’s a shadowy figure in trenchcoat and wide-brimmed hat that’s been in the background of every installment so far – boy do I feel dumb for not noticing him. Maybe that’s a credit to DiDio and Garcia-Lopez’ cramming of action into every panel, or maybe its just that I didn’t notice it. The mystery man doesn’t seem to be fazed by all the goings-on…who could this be? What fun! That made this strip even better.

WONDER WOMAN1 ½ whiskers. Diana fights Dr. Poison. Yep, here we go again. I apologize for the tirade ahead, folks. Just about everything that Caldwell does here is a great disservice to the strip and it audience, in my opinion. I realized while reading it that the tiny panels do absolutely nothing for my sense of the action; what is going on, exactly? If there are fights and other movements I cannot discern them through the cramped artwork. If there is wonderful dialogue and speeches I cannot fathom them through the near-unreadable lettering. If there is wonder and magic I cannot glimpse them through the muddy coloring. Why do I dread this strip each week? Why do I collect myself and save my strength up to start down its path each issue? Its one big attempt at turning WW into a faux-Disney feature, complete with their typical moon-eyed heroine, talking/joking animal sidekicks and just this side of scary villains. I gave this week’s chapter a half point for using an established WW opponent but other than that I wouldn’t cry too much if I didn’t have to slog through nine more weeks of this. And get a costume on that girl.

SGT. ROCK AND EASY CO.4 ½ whiskers. Easy Co.’s closer to finding Rock but the battered soldier himself isn’t looking too pretty. Joe Kubert knows how to draw the effects of a serious beat-down, that’s for sure. And that’s a good thing! I continue to appreciate Rock’s insolence in the face of adversity and I’ve become quite fascinated with the photographer character who’s stepped out of the background to perhaps take center stage. His presence is almost perverse, in a way, and I look forward to discovering why his presence is so important to the “Kommadant.” Go, Kuberts!

FLASH COMICS4 ½ whiskers. Iris has had enough and leaves while the two Flashes go back to the future. Thing are moving, well, FAST here this week and there’s no time to reflect on Iris’ angry departure. We’ve got a date with the future and a future Flash who echoes many of the Scarlet Speedster’s comic book adventures of the past several years. Kerschl’s just this side of complicating things a bit too much but I’m still greatly enjoying this double strip and I can’t say enough about the art. It suits the story to a “T.”

THE DEMON AND CATWOMAN5 whiskers. Catwoman’s captured by a strange old lady who collars the kitty and induces a transformation. Wow, this strip just moved into the 5 Whiskers Club. I’ve said it before: I never expected to like this one as much as I do and this week’s installment fired on all cylinders. The sense of Selina’s entry into a darker world beyond her abilities is thick and her magical change this week was both surprising and eerie. Who’s the old crone? The Demon’s traditional and eternal enemy is Morgan Le Fay – if this is her, its something of a new take on her. Might also be the legendary Baba Yaga. We’ll find out one way or another and I can’t WAIT for Catwoman to meet Etrigan face-to-face! Meow, indeed!

HAWKMAN4 whiskers. The Winged Wonder uncovers the vanguard of an alien invasion of Earth. Sure, Hawkman’s been a science fiction character for decades but I must admit to a bit of disappointment when the terrorists of weeks 1 and 2 turned out to be “Makkorthians.” Why? I think there’s already enough SF in WEDNESDAY COMICS, pure and simple, and I think something more along the lines of a political thriller might have stood out more. Still, there’s a great feeling of power in Baker’s Hawkman and a gritty realism. Still like the strip and will see where it all goes.

And that's pretty much it for another week, except for...

Mr. Wednesday Wantywants to know how this thing’s selling and what the plans are for collecting it. The mind boggles: can you imagine the size of the tpb for this? Surely they won’t shrink it down? Defeats the purpose! Clue us in to what’s up, D(o)C! And while were at it, why isn’t there a WEDNESDAY COMICS forum on the DC Message Boards? Insane!

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