Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Thursday Follows Wednesday #8

Wednesday Comics #8 – Overall rating: 4 whiskers.

I sit ready to read WEDNESDAY COMICS #8 and I must admit to some trepidation. Why? Last week’s edition scored the highest whisker rating to date – how can this week hope to compete with that? Alas, nothing ventured nothing gained – taking a page from DC themselves with this wonderful little experiment – so into the breach, dear friends, and all that other stuff.

The DC heroes await! Here comes Batman!

BATMAN4 ½ whiskers. Batman and Commissioner Gordon make note of a “walk” while criminals confer. This week’s strip is deceptively simple yet there’s a lot going on here. A new wrinkle in the story above all but also another fold and crease in the relationship between Batman and Gordon, as see back in #1. Not your happy-go-lucky “duly-deputized officer of the law” and his boss here. Tension you could have sliced up in a butcher shop. I like it. I’m not so sure of the pat scene of our supposed killer meeting with his own boss, the beautiful widow. Too simple. Got to be more to it. Right?

KAMANDI5 whiskers. Kamandi and his friends grieve deeply for the lost souls of war but gain a new pride of allies. Gibbons and Sook continue their march towards the perfect comic strip and this week does nothing to slow them down. The punch to the gut of the tiger-ape battle having taken place at Historic Gettysburg is an inspired move on the creators’ parts and the art somberly carries the mood. I also appreciated the oddness and wonder in a canine convincing a tribe of cats to fight alongside them. But can we trust the lions? Regardless, I see something like THE HOBBIT’s “Battle of Five Armies” on the horizon…

SUPERMAN4 whiskers. Superman gets wise but continues to get hurt for his troubles. Like “Batman” this strip’s deceptively simple this time around – but with a little less going on. Stand back and take a look at this page. It’s gorgeous. Bermejo’s probably doing the work of his career here. Can’t always say the same for Azzarello. I appreciate the situation he’s in with this format and its demands but he’s got only four more installments left to bring this to a close. I liked the force of Superman’s anger in the first panel and that he’s thinking again, like the hero he is, but too often the lure of producing beautiful art has curtailed plot development. There are glimmers of hope here, and I still look forward to the answer to the question of Kal’s super-funk.

DEADMAN4 ½ whiskers. Deadman learns more about his prison and takes the fight to his jailer. Now here’s a situation where the art – normally wow-wowing us – takes a back seat to the writing. But that’s okay, for the most part. I’m glad to know about that stone we’ve seen in the trees the last few weeks and the entire situation grows a little bit more intriguing with every chapter. “The kiss” comes off as both a cliché but also as a poignant reminder of Boston’s own personal situation – he’d dead. His costume is now himself. He can try to free these girls but he cannot love any of them, cannot end the story “happily ever after” in the company of any one of them. Its good stuff and I think a kind of a sleeper strip, one that might be flying under some readers’ radar.

GREEN LANTERN4 ½ whiskers. Green Lantern shows his true face to the monster he battles. I’ve really been getting my wish for action these last few weeks in this strip and this week’s no slacker. I’ve always liked the idea of a hero who has to appeal to someone’s inner self to be able to stop the destruction, etc. My only real gripe here is that Quinones’ sparse, comedic “hruh?” panel fell flat when I think a bit more dramatic impact was needed. Though there’s something inherently cartoony in his art I think the design choices in that single image stick out like a sore thumb. One other thought, and not a grouse: I wonder if GL’s vulnerability to yellow would’ve been too much to put across in this strip? We rarely see much that can get through the ring’s shields, thus my train of thought carries me to the traditional lantern weakness…

METAMORPHO4 ½ whiskers. Rex and Urania run down the table of elements in pursuit of an ancient enemy. Ha! Say what you will but you have to hand it to Gaiman and Allred for going out of their way to give you something different in this strip. I’ve complained a bit before about clever games and bits that don’t do much to advance the story but this week they try mighty hard to combine it all into one helluva quirky-jerky-hurdy-gurdy fun ride of elemental proportions. After much thought, after much staring at all that’s there, I’ve decided I like it. And hey, I don’t know the Peroidic Table from a pencil and tablet so Gaiman scores right there. He also loses half a whisker for the very unfunny Java coda. Blehhh. Beautiful portrait of Urania, though.

TEEN TITANS2 ½ whiskers. The team goes back to their original nest and headlong into their history. Hmm. Let’s take this slow. Okay, I griped about not getting any background on this team and its characters, so now Berganza throws a boatload of TT history at us – but essentially in the space of a single panel. It could be interesting but its way too much in too quick of an instant to be worthwhile. Here we are in #8 and I still ma not sure of what the story is – is it a revenge story? Was that what we were told? And has Kid Devil been in the strip all along? Again, too much, too quick and too confusing.

STRANGE ADVENTURES4 whiskers. Alanna takes her plea to Lord Korgo, seeking an ally. Back to Alanna on Rann, Pope continues to flesh out his own version of the famous planet, this time by introducing us to Lord Korgo of the blue monkey people. Pope does something a bit funky here by using omniscient narrator captions to hide actual dialogue boxes in an effort to put across the idea of words lost to history. I’m intrigued by the device but I’m not completely sure it works. Would we have liked to have read Alanna’s speech instead? Regardless, it’s a good installment, interestingly presented despite the absence of our star. Oh, but Paul? Get rid of that same old panel layout you’ve been using the last few times. Give us something new, please.

SUPERGIRL3 ½ whiskers. Supergirl takes her pets to the doctor and meets a tasty owl. Hurrah, Dr. Mid-Nite! Poor Charlie, though! Palmiotti and Connor continue with their mini-tour of the DCU and bring Supergirl to the JSA’s resident physician to seek help for her furry friends. Connor loads the strip with a multitude of gags, funny ones too, but overall I think she and her partner hand this week’s strip over to the gags a bit too much. I really get the feeling that whatever’s going on will be addressed in the final week as a minor note and the gags will rule all. But maybe that’s intention. Ah, what the heck; it’s a fun strip and WEDNESDAY COMICS really needs something like this.

METAL MEN4 ½ whiskers. The Metal Men finally get out of the bank – and straight into Chemo’s grasp. What can I say that I haven’t already said? DiDio and Garcia-Lopez offer everything a super hero strip should and do it gracefully. I’m glad to see their venue opened up a bit into the streets and I’m hoping we get a kind of Godzilla-giant monsters-vibe in the last four weeks of the story. And that o’ ante’s really been upped, huh? Kudos to Iron for his single-minded ode to friendship and heroism – this is the Metal Men that I love. The real, honest-to-goodness Metal Men.

WONDER WOMAN3 whiskers. Diana meets a wolf and gains a certain lasso. Caldwell rolls out a fairly drastic change to his usual cramped and profuse panels in the form of a gigantic panel right in the middle of the strip. That about bowled me over when I turned the page. Way to grab my attention. Diana finds the Golden Lasso, which is cool, but is confused by all that she’s bombarded with through other characters. I know how she feels. There’s a lot do here with Norse mythology but its not really clear how it impacts the story – still, Caldwell seems to be tightening things up and there’s a feeling of movement in the plot. One other thing: didn’t Diana have the eagle on her chest in one or more installments? Or was that a dream?

SGT. ROCK AND EASY CO.4 ½ whiskers. Rock confronts his tormentor but the tables turn terrifically. I dig it. This might be the best blending of both the art and writing to come along yet. Our hapless Rock’s out of the frying pan but steps straight into the fire – and a strange dilemma. The set-up is now that his rescuer, a man he does not know, is being held with a knife to his throat by a Nazi officer. Rock could just kill them all and flee, but he’s too much of a shining knight to leave the guy to the German’s tender mercies. It’s a good development and one that Kubert Senior draws to perfection. Look at the looks on that officer’s face in panels 6 and 9 – classic and expressionistic. Good stuff. Story's moving.

THE FLASH5 whiskers. Barry gets a super-speed lesson from his other selves and the mother of all nosebleeds. Things are moving – dare I say it? – quickly and Kerschl and Fletcher waste no time rolling out the plot points. I got a real kick out of the way the Flash seems a bit less smart than the other Flashes, though of course they’re all himself! It’s like a time travel story that’s fun! I also notice, after I finished reading it, that the strip is now simply named “The Flash” and all stories have become one. The juxtaposition with the nosebleeds and the collapsing Flashes was handled very well and dramatically – this one’s an edge-of-the seater, kids!

THE DEMON AND CATWOMAN4 ½ whiskers. Selina’s about to lose herself. Listen, this strip – and boy does that word take on deeper meaning here – is about as hot and heavy as they probably allow for this project. Simonson’s loading Morgaine up with sexy innuendo and Stelfreeze is doing his best to draw the sexiest near-Kirby women he can – it all gets pretty steamy! Basically, Morgaine wants Selina’s body to inhabit for, well, some adult pursuits; I guess she’s pretty frustrated after thousands of years. Overall, the strip’s – there’s that word again – atmosphere is one of decadence and decay and hints of pleasures of the flesh beyond even mortal understanding. My only concern here is that Selina’s hasn’t really been herself since the first few weeks and we’re not really seeing what Catwoman’s all about. I’m sure that will change, though.

HAWKMAN2 ½ whiskers. Hawkman calls for help. I think this story’s gone off the rails – or pinfeathers, if you like. Is it a Star Trek tale or a Hawkman adventure? Baker’s stacking the deck with aliens and Justice Leaguers but the whole house of cards looks to topple soon from the weight. I get no real sense of Hawkman here. The thought of the Winged Wonder stuck on Dinosaur Island is a good one. No, a great one. But that’s not what we’re getting. We’re getting Hawkgirl and Batman and alien armadas and Hawkman without his wings and a whole bunch of extraneous stuff. Where’s the incredible feeling from the first few weeks? Where’s the sense of wonder and barbaric strength in the character of Carter Hall? What I see here is just about everything but.

And that’s another edition of “Thursday Follows Wednesday” in the can and I am outta here…what? Who? Oh, him. Yeah, yeah…

Mr. Wednesday Wanty – wants more talk about WEDNESDAY COMICS. He’s afraid that DC has, in a way, shot itself in the foot by making this out of continuity and therefore drawing the lowest amount of interest and conversation to the project. Kind of sad, because it’s worthy of more reviews and discussion. He wants to know what MORE people think of this incredible production.

21 comments:

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