Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Wednesday Comics #1 of 12
Azzarello, Risso, Gibbons, Sook, Arcudi, Bermejo, Bullock, Heuck, Busiek, Quinones, Gaiman, Allred, Berganza, Galloway, Pope, Palmiotti, Conner, Didio, Lopez, Nowlan, Caldwell, Kubert, Kubert, Kerschl, Fletcher, Simonson, Stelfreeze & Baker
The bold new venture of DC Comics debuted this week. Called “Wednesday Comics” because of the strong influence from the Sunday Comics where page after page of various serial strips would run week after week holding a little something for just about everyone in the audience. As you might guess Wednesday Comics is printed on newspaper and folds open to 11 x 17. It’s got fifteen serials to follow and many of them are very good and they in fact do offer something for a wide range of audiences. This first installment of twelve is good but is this something that has staying power? Tune in next week I guess.
Rather than going through each story in order of printing it might be easiest if I group like stories together. This comic has three basic types of stories. The first kind is an introduction strip where it ends with the beginning of a problem or a plot point. The second is a story that we, as the audience, seem to join in on mid story. It’s almost as if last week had the beginning of the story, except there was no last week. The third type of story is much tougher to get into from the first issue because it seems to blurt out a bunch of information and it hopes you will tune in next week to find out how it fits in with the bigger picture of the serial story. This third format was by far the most frustrating because not everyone will be back.
The first grouping contained the majority of the stories, which were Batman, Hawkman, Kamandi, Deadman, Strange Adventures, Flash, Metal Men, Metamorpho and Supergirl. Of the introductory strips, there was a couple that really caught my interest.
Flash was the best story by far. The layout used over twenty panels to explain Barry’s powers, confront a criminal, solve a mystery, introduce his wife, create some tension in the marriage and provide a cliffhanger. The story was excellent and definitely makes the reader in-the-know about who the main players are and what they are about. This was excellent.
Metal Men and Kamandi both achieved the same thing in my eyes. Characters I have never read about and couldn’t care less about were introduced, given terrific personalities and a good cliffhanger. Metal Men is all the more impressive because we are dealing with a team of characters.
Metamorpho used its space to build up the lead character and his supporting cast very well. The story is playful and really is used for laughs with the double entendre about clams and such to establish the mindset and mood of the characters. It was a fun read.
Speaking of fun reads we have Supergirl. This was the most pure fun in the entire comic. Flying pets are always a hit and when you toss in a cute little girl drooling over a puppy in the pet store window you have gold. Supergirl, herself, has little to do in this story but we at least get the mood of the strip down and who the good guy players will be going forward.
Batman is unique because we really establish Gordon and his mindset rather than Batman. However, the cliffhanger leaves you on the edge of your seat because it’s an impossible situation, but you just know Batman will prevail somehow.
That leaves Hawkman, Deadman and Strange Adventures which all give some level of introductory information before leaving us with an invasion or a terrorism threat or a murder about to happen. The only difference here is that we learn nothing about Hawkman, but rather about the mindset of the birds, it would seem. Next to the Batman cliffhanger I would say Adam Strange’s cliffhanger is the next most impossible for him to succeed in.
The second type of story where the audience joins in during the action only really had three stories: The Demon and Catwoman, Sgt Rock and Superman. Sgt Rock used the fewest panels but Sgt Rock was basically being tortured so it left a nice impression. Superman was interesting because it had people cheering for Superman to beat on the alien, even though he’s an alien as well. This sets up more than just a battle serial for twelve weeks I would think. The Demon and Catwoman seems to have had a meeting or setup that we missed that we walk in on during this comic. This strip was very good because it left a complex plot. Perhaps the most complex of any of the fifteen strips.
The third group consisted of Wonder Woman, Teen Titans and Green Lantern. Green Lantern is about the group that works at Ferris Air going out for drinks. They talk a lot about Hal Jordan, who is not among them. The final panel has Green Lantern flying through the air. This comic never establishes Hal as Green Lantern and gives virtually no Green Lantern in it. I realize most probably know all of this information but why start off so weakly? Teen Titans is a narrative told from the villain’s standpoint. We learn her name but none of the other characters. Not one is referenced or introduced. One of the Teen Titans gets stabbed but I have no idea who it is so why should I even care? The manga style art is not to my taste either which doesn’t help its cause. The third story where the reader is left to fend for themselves is Wonder Woman. Essentially this strip is about Wonder Woman flying through the air talking to birds and then ghosts. They talk a lot about oracles, seven stars and Paradise Island. I was lost. None of this was presented in an understandable manner and I’m still not sure if Wonder Woman is a child or not. I would imagine this story appeals to someone who has followed Wonder Woman in the past. I hope you found the information relevant.
There you have it. Fifteen strips. Almost all of them were good and almost all of them beg for the reader to return to them next week. Sounds perfect, right?
Well, there is that little problem with price and quality. Oh, the writing and art is superb, but printing it on newspaper doesn’t exactly help in keeping the thing nice after reading it once or twice. In short, this won’t hold up like your typical comic. The other problem is the $4 price tag. I was able to pick up issue one at a discount of a buck, but I would be forced to pay the full cover next week. Is a $4 newspaper really worth it? And for twelve weeks no less?
The final word here is that this is a great gimmick that has mostly terrific content. If you don’t mind a giant newspaper to read and can spare the cost in your budget then this is something to pick up. If you ever liked reading the Sunday Comics out of the paper then this is probably right up your alley except you won’t find Peanuts or Garfield.
4 out of 5 geek goggles