The Wednesday Comics experience is becoming exhausting. This issue marks the one month anniversary of Wednesday Comics and the one-third completion watermark. This is the first full issue where I've not been excited to pick one up next week. My general strategy/rules for the end of purchasing for an ongoing comic is two strikes in a row and I'm out.
Of course, there are other factors that go into it, but this rule is one of the main reasons I was one of the few that stuck with Final Crisis to the end. One issue would be good, then the next one would be boring. I trusted Morrison enough that he could get things back on track. As it turns out, if the series went on for one more issue I probably would have dropped it. Ultimately though, I'm glad I stuck with it because there were some really good and intense moments on the way. That's about where I'm at with Wednesday Comics right now: Not as exciting as it was, but the highs are still really high. I trust that the six or so stories that keep me buying this thing will bring it back next week, but who knows, they could end up with Darkseid killing Batman. So yeah for right now, here are some comments on the most worthwhile strips.
BATMAN by writer Brian Azzarello and artist Eduardo Risso
Batman hurt me the most this week. This is probably the most underrated story of the bunch, and after this week it's hard to argue for it. I would argue though that the first three pages were something of a classic in the making. Each page was like a succinct poem with each one standing on its own and dealing with specific themes and building towards something bigger.
The first page showcased Batman and Commissioner Gordon, saying a lot about their relationship to one another, their feelings towards crime, and their position within the city. Page two had a lot to say about the character of Bruce Wayne, his relationship with his parents, and his romantic relationships with women. Without saying a word, page three showed a darker side of Batman, playing the voyeur and showing his anger. By having this subplot underneath the interaction of Luna and Carlton Glass adds different meanings to the story. It becomes more than just a conversation between two people stretched over a cool, well-drawn action story.
This week's page just doesn't fit with the quality or tone of the first three pages. It departs from the wordless panels and the single page storytelling to show a dinner date between Bruce Wayne and Luna Glass. There's nothing here that we didn't already know from previous pages. In this week's page, each line of dialogue is just a double entendre without much going on other than sexual tension. This could be a turn for the worse for the comic. By focusing only on a detective plot it loses all the character and tone that made the first pages great.
KAMANDI by writer Dave Gibbons and artist Ryan Sook
Definitely the best Kamandi yet. It's quick, to the point, and really intense. It plays up the prior knowledge of the story by reusing the final panel of the last page only this time with Kamandi swinging in. Even though a lot of action happens in this page, each event that isn't glossed over and has it's own weight to it. The serious tone of the narration helps a lot. It focuses on the courage of the heroes and even the fear of Kamandi and Prince Tuftan. It makes them more than just heroic characters and this highlights exactly why their heroism is impressive. Kamandi's motive is not just to save a life, like a normal heroic character, but is rooted in a curiosity to find more out about humanity.
SUPERMAN by writer John Arcudi and artist Lee Bermejo
Like Batman this episode just treads water thematically. The first page set the tone while the next two pages explored different aspects of Superman's multi-faceted personality. Unlike Batman I think that Superman has just his a slow patch and will pick back up next week with business as usual. The prospect of seeing some Kryptonian technology is a really exciting one.
Despite it's disappointing showing this week, Superman is easily one of the better stories in Wednesday Comics. Some have complained that its lack of action has made it boring . I don't get comics fans sometimes. When anyone ever talks about Superman it's about how his powers make him unbeatable and there is no suspense, but when a comic finally changes it up and focuses on his personality people complain about the lack of supervillains. The story even plays off of that perception on page one with Superman fighting some random meaningless villain. People who are hating on this one are most likely missing the point.
STRANGE ADVENTURES by writer/artist Paul Pope
Like most people predicted, Pope has the most consistent quality comic of the bunch. This week's page is a direct parallel to last week's when Adam is stuck in prison, but it's told from the guard's perspective at first instead of Alanna's, and we're just confronted with two panels of her staring straight out at us. By not giving us her perspective while imprisoned Pope actually helps the reader identify more with Adam Strange. We're not privy to her thoughts, so we're forced to ask ourselves about her personality and have an outsiders take on her the same way Strange would. Even though Pope shows her as a hardened warrior, his spotlight on her shows her being seemingly emotionally vulnerable. The greatness of Pope's story is his art and how it adds subtle aspects of personality and emotion to a generally pretty cliched storyline.
HAWKMAN by writer/artist Kyle Baker
Quickly this went from a Hawkman solo comic to Hawkman featuring the Justice League. The addition of Hawkgirl and Batman completely change aspects of Hawkman's personality. Page one of the story established him as a loner. He came off as a general of an army that would rather be feared than respected with a "My way or the highway" kind of attitude. Now, we see him orchestrating a plan, not as a general, but as a leader and peer. Baker takes advantage of the format with small panels which add an increasing comic book feel to the story and he continues to do a good job of pacing, adding in small bits of plot and character while keeping things exciting with action.