Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Wednesday Comics #1

Various
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DC's new weekly comic book is an anthology in the form of a newspaper that folds out into 14" x 20" broadsheets. There are fifteen one-page stories within the anthology, each by a different top-notch creative team that are focusing their stories on a different character (or characters) from the DC Universe. My initial impression when going through this was that I was reading previews of stories, they were mostly set-up and I wasn't very familiar with some of the characters like Metal Men. And having watched a few movie trailers prior to this undertaking, I guess that was how I kind of felt about the stories - like they were more or less advertising, selling, the stories that were to come, especially since I'd had no prior knowledge as to what these individual stories were going to be about. It's interesting to see how certain creators approached this endeavor, many with continuing arcs that hardly slowed down for the page's end like Adam and Joe Kuberts' Sgt. Rock, while others left the page on a cliffhanger of sorts (which seemed to be the favored format overall), and yet others made the story (while "to be continued") more episodic, with a good full story within that page, which I really appreciated in Kurt Busiek and Joe Quinones' Green Lantern. But no matter how the creators chose to tell their story, one thing was clear right away and that was that each team really utilized the page to the best of their abilities to show off their talents. In an anthology like this, I liked some of the comics more than others, of course. Here were my impressions of each of the stories...
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Batman by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso - This was the comic that led off the anthology with a pretty standard scene of Batman meeting Gordan on the roof of the police station, but with some pretty haunting final images introducing a mystery villain, motives unknown.
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Kamandi by Dave Gibbons and Ryan Sook - This was my favorite of the bunch. I love Ryan Sook's art and this Prince Valiant-type showcase is perfect for his abilities. I love comics where I can just stop and admire the art like this, and while there are a lot of stories in this anthology that caused me to do just that, this was the shining example, as readers are introduced to Kamandi's destroyed future Earth.
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Superman by John Arcudi and Lee Bermejo - The Alex Rosses and Greg Lands of superhero comics are turn-offs for me, but Lee Bermejo's art, while very realistic, shows real depth and emotion in the characters' faces here. So while at a glance, I wasn't expecting to like this page, when I actually read it, I was taken in by the art. It's really beautiful.
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Deadman by Dave Bullock and Vinton Heuck - Deadman's powers lend themselves to this type of noir supernatural mystery perfectly, and the cartoony art by Bullock suited the comic well. I felt like I got a good chunk of story for one page, with a brief overview of Deadman's history mingled with the current story thread.
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Green Lantern by Kurt Busiek and Joe Quinones - Like I said before, I feel like this was a pretty self-contained, full story which was nice to see among the offerings here. The creators took a neat approach too, putting the limelight on Hal Jordan's civilian friends for nearly the entire page.
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Metamorpho by Neil Gaiman and Mike Allred - This was one of my favorites of the bunch, a little goofiness mixed in with some action. Metamorpho's a really likable character and Allred's art is just superb on a title like this.
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Teen Titans by Eddie Berganza and Sean Galloway - I have to say that of all the offerings here, I liked this the least. The art itself was pretty, but it seemed really messy to me with the panels all depicting another group of Titans (various incarnations of the team) in mid-jump or super-posed. I was completely disinterested.
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Strange Adventures by Paul Pope - This Adam Strange story is a beautiful showcase for Pope's art, complete with an alien planet and Mandril-like attackers. Adam Strange is a little weird (character-wise), but offers a wealth of opportunities for artists, as is realized by Pope here.
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Supergirl by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner - This is a really cute story that rivaled Kamandi for my favorite. It's funny and well, has Streaky and Krypto, for crying out loud! Amanda Conner's art may not be as striking as other artists in this anthology, but it had its moments here.
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Metal Men by Dan Didio, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Kevin Nowlan - This is a story that seems like it would sit well next to some old Jimmy Olsen comics. It's a little retro, silly and over-the-top, but I just loved it. This page is a shining example of the potential Wednesday Comics can live up to with great story and thoughtfully-laid-out panels coupled with gorgeous art that shows in a single page why these characters and this premise is so wonderful.
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Wonder Woman by Ben Caldwell - This is another offering that I just wasn't feeling. Once again, stunning art, but story-wise...I'm not a fan of the whole dream-thing that was going on. It was disorienting and bored me.
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Sgt. Rock by Adam Kubert and Joe Kubert - This was a bit brutal, the entire page full of panels of Rock being beat up incessantly by his captors. This really felt like the first page of a full comic more than anything else.
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The Flash by Karl Kerschl and Brenden Fletcher - This was structured differently than the others, but it worked nicely. First we get half a page of The Flash amid some action with monkeys, then we get half a page of Flash's wife Iris West (with a title that suggests she has her own book). I wonder if this is how the remainder of the story will be structured, split in half - it could make for an interesting overall offering.
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The Demon and Catwoman by Walter Simonson and Brian Stelfreeze - I really liked this one too. Very lovely art and a fun story with a lot of promise, pitting two characters against each other like this. I can't wait to see The Demon manifest itself.
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Hawkman by Kyle Baker - Once again, this felt like the first page of a longer story, which I would have expected more of in this anthology. Great art, and I liked seeing this page through the eyes of the birds at Hawkman's side.
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Wednesday Comics launched to great success artistically. I think this is a great idea and a wonderful way to showcase some obviously very talented people working in mainstream comics. I hope to see more of this kind of ingenuity and play with the format in the future. This deserves to be every bit the success that DC set it up to be.

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