Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wednesday Comics, Part I

Since Wednesday Comics is halfway through its twelve-week run, I figured that I would offer up some thoughts and witty-yet-insightful criticism of DC’s latest weekly series. Feel free to agree/disagree/discuss/ignore at your leisure.

The Best of the Best

Kamandi, by Dave Gibbons and Ryan Sook: this is my absolute favorite feature. Each one-page installment tells a complete story, while contributing to the larger tale. It harkens back to the newspaper strips of old, complete with the “Our Story” recaps and the “Next Week” previews. While I’m a bit too young to really appreciate the older Sunday comics’ strips, I do recall the Prince Valiant strip appearing in the The Daily News, and getting a kick out of the storytelling style. Kudos to all involved.

Batman, by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso: I hated their six-issue run on Batman a few years back. So why do I like this so much? I don’t know. No real reason; I just do. It’s a hard-boiled crime story, and each page really hits you in the gut, metaphorically of course. It gets in there, tells its story, and gets out, without any extraneous continuity or baggage.

Green Lantern by Kurt Busiek and Joe Quinones: Beautiful art combined with a fun story. Busiek is another writer who seems to understand the limits and benefits of telling a story one page at a time. He focuses on what’s important to the story, and that’s it.

Metamorpho, by Neil Gaiman and Mike Allred: Another example of the creators being inventive. This story is just bizarre, and I don’t think that it’s been particularly compelling, but the sheer creativity in the use of the format has been fantastic. The Family Circus style two-page spread between pages/issues two and three, the messages from the Metamorpho Fans of America, and the Snakes and Ladders game this week…All very cool.

Strange Adventures, by Paul Pope: This strip became one of my favorites this week, with Adam Strange’s return to Earth and the revelation that he’s an old man there, while being youthful and adventurous on Rann. Neat. Overall, it’s been a fun science fiction tale, with new twists and turns each week. I’m not really a Paul Pope fan, but I’m starting to come around with this story.

Thoroughly Enjoyable and Entertaining

Hawkman, by Kyle Baker: Honestly, this would have been in the above category if that damn Adam Strange hadn’t shoehorned him out. Baker’s strip has been high-octane adventure from the start, and its placement as the final strip of the issue has me excited for next week’s installment. What I like most about this story is that Baker utilizes the larger scale of the page to the utmost, frequently using huge panels to convey a sense of grandeur.

The Flash, by Karl Kerschel and Brenden Fletcher; Honestly, I need to go back and re-read this feature a few times to fully appreciate it; all of the time-traveling and multiple Barry Allens is making my head hurt. But it’s a fun story, and, much like the Green Lantern strip evokes a very Silver Age, simpler feel.

Deadman, by Dave Bullock and Vinton Hueck: The first page recapped Deadman’s origin, and from there it’s been nonstop mystical action. Another story that side-steps continuity and just tells a really good tale full of action and suspense.

Not Quite as Thoroughly Enjoyable and Entertaining, But Still Good

Metal Men, by Dan DiDio and Jose Luís Garcia-Lopez & Kevin Nowlan: I love the art; Garcia-Lopez has always been a favorite of mine. And I like the story; I don’t think that DiDio is the greatest writer in the world, but I’ve always found his work entertaining. The story just needs a little something, a kick in the ass I guess, to make it more interesting. The Metal Men just come off as a little too pedestrian and commonplace here, that’s all. Not the worst strip, by far.

The Demon and Catwoman, by Walt Simonson and Brian Stelfreeze: I just don’t get this story. It’s pretty to look at, and the Demon’s always a fun character, but why is Catwoman even here? She got turned into a cat, and now she seems to have no purpose in the story. But, any chance to see Stelfreeze draw hot women is always appreciated.

Supergirl, by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner: Love the writer, love the artist, love pretty much everything else they work on. This story just falls extremely flat to me. I don’t expect anything life-changing for Supergirl, but I want her to do more than just play pet-sitter for twelve pages. However, it’s a cute, fun story, and this week’s depiction of Aquaman was amusing.

Wonder Woman, by Ben Caldwell: I really want to like this story, mainly because Caldwell puts so much work into each and every installment. I mean, one page of his story has more panels than pages one through six of Sgt. Rock combined. It’s weird, it’s quirky, and it takes extreme liberties with the Wonder Woman mythos, creating something new and exciting. Unfortunately, six pages in, it seems to be getting derivative and repetitive, that’s all.

Please, Make it Stop

Sgt. Rock, by Adam Kubert and Joe Kubert: I have nothing but respect for Joe Kubert and the work he has done over the years. And I think that the art on this strip has been great. But the story? Ech. Double ech. Nothing’s happening. Page after page of Rock getting interrogated, while Easy Company hangs out. It’s getting monotonous.

Teen Titans, by Eddie Berganza and Sean Galloway: Yeah, at least I like the art on the Sgt. Rock strip. I think it’s horrible on this one. And I don’t like the story either. Hell, I’m a Titans fan and I don’t much care for them in this tale. The multiple narrators, unexplained fight scenes, poor storytelling…Nope, not enjoyable at all.

Superman, by John Arcudi and Lee Bermejo: This one started out strong…and then bottomed out. I feel bad for anyone who was introduced to Wednesday Comics through the appearance in USA Today and then proceeded to follow the strip to the newspaper’s website, because this story is just atrocious. It’s not “Superman”, it’s “The Non-Adventures of Whining Clark Kent.” Oh, well, they can’t all be winners…


DoctorMarmalade said...

I have a feeling that once I buy #1, I am going to buy the entire series....

Andrew Dowdell... said...

Honestly, it really is worth the $3.99...because the strips that are good, are really freaking good...and you have to respect the skill and craft in concocting a beginning, middle and end to a one-page story installment...