Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thursday Follows Wednesday #6

Wednesday Comics #6 – Overall rating: 4 whiskers.


Halfway through. In the middle. The glass is half empty – or half full? However you want to look at it, this series reaches its center point and is still rockin’ right along. Not every piston's pulling its weight but overall the engine’s in good shape and the ride’s pretty smooth. But enough with mechanical allusions, let’s talk about me.

I’ve gotten some good responses from these reviews, enough to make me feel like I’m entertaining people. Or amusing them at least. Even gotten a few pro responses, specifically from creators who, wow, appear in this series. Interesting and always humbling. Some other reviewers might pause and ponder whether or not to tailor their future reviews in one way or another, to perhaps favor or even further piss off said creators. That said, I want to assure all “Thursday Follows Wednesday” readers that what you get HERE is always and simply my unadulterated reviews. No agendas, no hidden costs, no extra charge for valve stems. Just me and a few opinions. Just like Mom used to make. If she was a comic book reviewer.

Le’s git to it!

BATMAN4 whiskers. Batman plays cat-and-mouse with a man he believes to be a killer. So, the Darknight Detective’s hunted a few murderers in his day and it probably gets boring after a while. Why NOT play with them a bit? Good, moody entry this week, with some nice touches: an ex-boxer/presumed killer who listens to opera, a big splash to emphasize the action, an evil smile on our hero that sent chills down my spine. Not much happens, per se, but Azzarello and Risso always evoke a mood-o, and for my money, that’s the key to the Bat-o. Cheerio, guy-with-a-gun.

KAMANDI5 whiskers. The strange girl gets a kick out of her gorilla captors and gets Kamandi back on the road. Anybody out there getting sick of this strip’s perfect scores across the board? Hands? Hands? No? Didn’t think so. The colors this week are so great, so rich, that they ramp up the art to a very high place. I love that middle panel, that tableau straight out of a pulp illustration. Girl with gun. Apes beware. Now, I’m not so sure that a young girl’d be able to fell a full-grown gorilla with one kick, and one right in his big leather belt rather than his kidneys, but hey, sometimes perfection in writing and art make me suspend some disbelief in things that make you go, “hmmm.” And thank Kirby that Dr. Canus is okay – now go help Tuftan, gang! Please!

SUPERMAN4 ½ whiskers. A restful peace is shattered by the arrival of some unwanted visitors at the Kent farm. Waitasecond. Did Arcudi just, wait for it, DO SOMETHING? Did he just, I dunno, ADVANCE THE PLOT? It took all of three seconds to read the damn thing this week but I was so overjoyed that the moping dematerialized and the crazy-ass alien infestation began. Just what this strip needed. Cool to see aliens of the same variety as that in #1. Sad to see Ma and Pa’s house ruined. troubling to see the very sad-looking grandfather clock lying amidst the rubble. Something poignant about that…

DEADMAN5 whiskers. Deadman falls to his death, watched by three strange personages. Everything clicked here this week and I’m moved to give “Deadman” the elusive perfect clipping. Boston’s inner dialogue of how this death differs from his first is as surreal and fascinating as it sounds. Art and colors were spot on and the wrinkle of the three women appearing at the cliffhanger, one of who Deadman recognizes – the girl from the alley in #1 – is a good shot in the arm for the story. Good job, all, though I have to chuckle a bit at a classically-garbed goddess type - who wears panties. Editorial mandate or…?

GREEN LANTERN3 ½ whiskers. Hal remembers the events of his dismissal from the astronaut program. A good balance here this week between the flashback to Dill’s story, a catalyst of change in Hal’s life and Green Lantern heroically swooping in to – hopefully – save the day. I think it presages some deeper struggle that might occur between GL and whatever Dill’s become, deeper than a physical one. Quinones art is really great on the centrifuge but I have to assume that the device had slowed down considerably when Hal was thrown from it – be more than a cracked rib or two if not, eh? As always, an interesting story and I think I’m about to get all the Green Lantern action I could hope for.

METAMORPHO5 whiskers. The intrepid explorers are waylaid by gigantic snakes deep in the Antarctic ruins. Okay, if we have to have a compression of story panels to make way for what amounts to a clever game board – I can dig it. Here’s how I justify it: the story advances, characterization evident and a few morsels of the future to be gleaned if you know where to look. “Chutes and Ladders” was one of my most favorite games when I was a kid, so that’s a win right there. Yeah, yeah, it’s called “Snakes and Ladders” in the UK; I can still dig it and it IS pretty clever to insert it here. But also look for the reference to “Algon” at the bottom – he’s the Roman Centurion Element Man who’s mentioned in #2 and who “died in a volcano,” i.e., the volcanoes that harbor the ruins Stagg and Co. are even now trampling through. Extra points for the little boy who wants to play Element GIRL in the game. Poor kid – “gender roles are hard!”

TEEN TITANS2 ½ whiskers. Blue Beetle wonders what he’s doing here as Trident moves in for the kill. So, we actually get some explanation of who one of these Titans is and why he’s here. Was that so hard? Why did it take six chapters? Anyway, it was a good bit of monologue and though Beetle comes off as not much of a HERO he at least intrigued me. I liked the part where he and Trident said each other’s name and then fell over. Cute. Still muddy colors and goofy art, though. And Trident is Dr. Light’s son? Is that in regular continuity, too? Not interesting enough for me to look up; just sayin’.

STRANGE ADVENTURES5 whiskers. Adam hits the dirt and his old life comes crashing down on him soon after. Wow. Paul Pope is doing wonders with this strip. So many little touches, so many grand ideas, so cool of a story. Here’s what’s to love this week: the culmination of the disco ball graphic from last week, Adam an old man on Earth, postcards and dusty photographs from Peru, the frustration of a dream and a grim reminder of death. Who’d have ever thought that an Adam Strange adventure could possess this much nuance alongside such larger visions of science fiction and derring-do? Paul, you made me FEEL for Adam in this strip – I don’t think that’s ever happened before for me. Kudos.

SUPERGIRL4 ½ whiskers. Supergirl calls on a friend for help. Best. Supergirl. Strip. Yet. I’m serious – suddenly I love this. Aquaman? I mean, Aquaman??? Who saw the coming? And I sympathize with Jimmy here ‘cause, y’know, you have to look for something to do with the King of the Sea, something interesting – and who’d ever have thought that Aquaman would end up as “that guy.” You know, that annoying guy on the cellphone. Hilarious. And funny art touches throughout from Conner: watch the pets closely and they’ll crack you up. None of this really advances the story but hey, “Supergirl” has never really been about the story, has it? Good marks for you this week, team. Fun stuff.

METAL MEN5 whiskers. Tin saves the day – or does he? I mean really; Tin is tops. What a great way for DiDio to ratchet up the love for the Metal Men’s “weakest” member. Wow – I seem to be saying that a lot this week. And I totally called Chemo last week! You know it! It’s good to be right, and if this is being right I don’t ever want to be wrong again. Err, or something like that. I’m sounding like a long-playing record but: good story, good dialogue, good characters, good development, good art. All this and a burp from the Villain with Gas to Spare. Way cool. Go get ‘im, Metal Men!

WONDER WOMAN2 whiskers. Diana gains a new friend in her quest. Took me a few minutes but I figured out that you have to read this one vertically rather than horizontally. Some call that “playing with the comic book format,” but I call that “somewhat annoying.” Thanks though to Caldwell for the introduction of Etta Candy and a narrative that makes a bit more sense than previous weeks. Where this takes place or when is a mystery and what it all means to boot but again, it appears as if we’re getting WW’s origin. Now if only we could ever get one clear shot of our heroine so as to set her in our mind’s eye as a living, breathing character – we’d be all set. Oh, I liked the sucker at the beginning, though I felt a little like I was looking in a mirror.

SGT. ROCK AND EASY CO.4 whiskers. Rock receives an unexpected ally. DON’T TRUST ‘IM, ROCK!!! Sorry, couldn’t help myself, soljer. I, like Rock, am suspicious of this new development, but hey, stranger things have happened in war - and to Rock. And nobody can draw poverty like Kubert. Nobody. He makes you feel every old garment, ache in the belly and punch to the face. Thanks for the development this week, father and son.

FLASH COMICS3 ½ whiskers. Flash creates even more time disturbances and Grodd conquers all. After those opening caption boxes, Barry should have said, “What the…??” instead of “Where the…??” But that’s simply an indication of what comes next as this strip gets even more crazy and, yes, convoluted. Gone is the “Iris Allen” strip and in its place appears a new “Gorilla Grodd” story which though interesting also throws something of a, heh, monkey wrench into the proceedings. It’s a speed bump, the first in this story, but one that I want to see what Kerschl and Fletcher do with. It could be fascinating, or it could just hurt your head. It’s a pivot point this week, folks.

THE DEMON AND CATWOMAN4 whiskers. The Demon meets his foe and goes for the gusto. Yay! Jack Kirby’s Morgaine le Fay is here and hopefully to stay! We get a nice encapsulation of Etrigan’s origin and his connection to Camelot and some set-up for the battle ahead – all we need now is Catwoman. You know, the co-star of this strip? I’m afraid with no appearance of late she’ll be overshadowed by all the mystic hoo-hah and whatnot. What’s her place in this story now? Also, is it just me or did Stelfreeze this week channel an artist by the name of – Simonson? And in a good way? Nice look this strip has, gentlemen.

HAWKMAN4 whiskers. Hawkman checks for survivors of the downed airliner. I like the questions Baker’s asking here: can Hawkman be a hero without his wings? What can he do about the larger picture while stuck on the ground? Can he relate to the plane’s passengers? I really like how Baker’s brought this strip back down to Earth, so to speak, and dispensed with the aliens for now. I liked the grimier vibe we got in the first two weeks and I’m hoping that’s what we’ll be getting more of from here on out. But don’t go to long without getting some wings back on that boy, Kyle! HAWKman, not WALKman!

What? Another week’s flown by? Where did the time go? Must be a little left for…

Mr. Wednesday Wanty – wants hear some suggestions for strips for a “Wednesday Comics” sequel – which we’ve been told is a possibility. Aquaman? Check. Sugar and Spike? Check. Robin? Could be cool. Who else? We want to know!


Lisa said...

Hey Jim.

Nice reviews.

I've enjoyed your comments but I think you are a litttle harsh on Wonder Woman.

It's an obvious homage to Little Nemo so the panels move much like those of the Little Nemo in Slumberland series. It's different from comics books I grant you, but it's almost like reading ina dialect. You have to try to adapt. Once you do, like with Twain's Huck Finn, the story can be very rewarding.

I've enjoyed how the strip has disconnected WW from her world War II origin almost entirely but somehow salvaged the mythical elements of her story. The quest for seven Amazonian objects in her dreams (which manifest themselves in physical form) is an interesting and innovative approach to Wonder Woman.

Have you noticed that Steve Trevor and the "world of men" is nowhere in sight?? Not even George Perez's re-vamp has been so daring. Marston had an pro-women agenda but was still recounting an essentially paternalistic -- or is that sadistic -- philosophy for what women are in society. Perez was more balanced and worked in a lot of ancient mythology, but Wonder Woman was still balnacing herself against "Man's World". Here, Diana is the savior of the entire human race.

Nice change of pace.

A second thing I've noticed is that deconstructed storylines bother me much less in this format. I wonder why?


Lisa said...

I just realized that was my wife's account.

The above post was from Jack Holt
a/k/a Bgztl