Mark Chiarello, DC’s Art Editor Supreme, once again proves himself one of the driving visionaries in comics today. Following on the heels of his SOLO series (A critical, if not commercial success, that I hope DC tries again) he masterminds what I consider another DC homerun, WEDNESDAY COMICS (Dedicated to the great Archie Goodwin). WEDNESDAY COMICS is getting me to go to the comic shop every week to pick it up, and I didn’t do that for any other weekly book. Heck I don’t do that for monthly books. Just the format, and the fact that it’s a complete self-contained reading experience (no tie-ins etc) makes it for me an attractive read.
So with the series half done, I thought now was a great time for an issue by issue overview:
#1 WEDNESDAY COMICS 8 JUL 09-
BATMAN is a solid choice to launch this collection of strips. Nice art, nice story, keeps you on tap for next issue. B.
KAMANDI-A lot of praise has been heaped on Gibbon’s and Sook’s KAMANDI and rightly so. Completely captures the feel of classic Prince Valiant strips. And does a great job with the cliffhanger. B+.
The SUPERMAN strip has beautiful art, but doesn’t feel as successful as the others in being compelling in one page. B-.
DEADMAN- Nice art, layout, fun story, strong cliffhanger. Though, feels a little back-story heavy, B.
GREEN LANTERN- Love the art, but feel the story doesn’t really make itself work in the one page format. B-/C+.
METAMORPHO- Great art, Interesting story. B-/B.
TEEN TITANS- Uggh. Neither the art nor the story particularly worked. Very off-putting every time I try and read it. D.
STRANGE ADVENTURES- Pope’s STRANGE ADVENTURES gets a lot of praise, and while not my favorite of this issues’ strips, it’s a fun, relatively effective 1 pager. B/B+.
Palmiotti and Conner’s SUPERGIRL is cute, and fun, kid friendly stip. B.
METAL MEN- Dan Didio impressed me with this effective one pager, and the art by Jose Garcia-Lopez, and Kevin Nowlan (two of the greatest artists in the business) is stunning. Fantastic work by Didio to tell a compelling story in one page. A.
WONDER WOMAN- It’s a beautiful strip and like Pope and Baker, Ben Caldwell is doing everything himself. So just for the body of work he’s producing on a weekly basis, he deserves praise. That said the story/structure is largely impenetrable and definitely off-putting. To take an oversized format and still make it squinting, eye strain material, is at the best a misstep and at the worst a crime. All in all, even less reader friendly than the TEEN TITANS’ piece. D-.
SGT. ROCK- It’s hard to go wrong with the Kuberts, and this strip so far is no exception. Compelling. B/B+.
FLASH/IRIS WEST- Just a lot of fun, and a throwback to the romance comics of yesteryear. And the art is beautiful. B+.
DEMON & THE CAT – Great art, found the story not very intriguing or memorable. C+.
HAWKMAN- They have Kyle Baker bringing up the rear but for my money that was a good thing because he ended strong. For me this was my favorite strip of this issue, hands down. Just fantastic art, story, and composition, with an effective cliffhanger. It had weight, and gravity to it, no pun intended. “And we Flap”. A+.
#2 WEDNESDAY COMICS 15 JUL 09-
BATMAN- Solid art. Though I’m not sold on the pacing of this yet. B-.
KAMANDI- Wow. It’s just gorgeously drawn and composed. And effectively told. It is beautiful. B+/A-.
SUPERMAN- Superman meets Batman. What’s not to love. While the characterizations seemed… off (“Super-Prozac” is that a comment that Batman would make?). Overall good. B.
DEADMAN- Good strip. Nice art, relatively compelling. B.
GREEN LANTERN- Improvement over last installment. Love the art, and ends on a good cliffhanger. B.
METAMORPHO- Not much storywise here but I really enjoy how Allred plays with the page layout. And the kid commentary at the bottom is nifty. B-/B.
TEEN TITANS- It’s better than last issue, though it still feels like they are not making use of the 1 page format.
STRANGE ADVENTURES- I think here is where Paul Pope for me begins to earn his accolades. Fun art, fun story, effective use of the format. B+.
SUPERGIRL- Not exactly my cup of tea. But great art, and kid friendly fun. B.
METAL MEN- Loving this series. Didio and Garcia/Nowlan are knocking this out the park and perfectly using the format. Who would think a VP could actually be a great writer? Wow I’m impressed. A/A+.
WONDER WOMAN- Still reader kryptonite. D-.
SGT. ROCK- Good if taking its time about actually progressing the story. B-/B.
FLASH/IRIS- is solidly fun and fantastic. B+.
DEMON CAT- Uhhh— beautiful art, story is not doing anything for me. C-.
HAWKMAN- Is still beautifully drawn, however reads perhaps a little awkwardly compared to that fantastic opening last week. B/B+.
#3 WEDNESDAY COMICS 22 JUL 09-
Batman-Nice art, story progressing. Just not terribly interesting so far. C/C+.
KAMANDI- Continues to be one of the consistently best strips. B+/A-.
Superman- Art beautiful, but starting to feel like it’s treading water. B-/C.
Deadman- Nice page layout. Not particularly compelling. B.
Green Lantern- Great art. Still trying to get a hang on the story. B.
Metamorpho- I still appreciate Allred’s layout, though it’s getting a little repetitive. Same with Gaiman’s lack of actual story/story progression. It is starting to actually annoy me. C-.
Teen Titans- Art is not my cup of tea, but the story seems like its starting to shape up. C.
STRANGE ADVENTURES- I’m really enjoying this series. Paul Pope is consistently entertaining. B+/A-.
Supergirl- More of the same. Fun but not my cup of tea. B.
METAL MEN- Man!!! I keep having to sing the praise of these guys. Another brilliant mating of story and art and a cliffhanger! Wow! A/A+.
Wonder Woman- Reader Kryptonite still.
Sgt Rock- Okay, but still waiting for the story to progress itself. C+.
Flash/Iris- Continues to be a joy. B+.
Demon and Cat- Wonderful art, not sure what to make of the story. C+.
HAWKMAN- Well, that was an unexpected twist. Art is still good, and intriguing story, though I do miss the clean, grittiness of the opening. B.
#4 WEDNESDAY COMICS 29 JUL 09-
BATMAN- If you’ve seen the Big Sleep, and the thick verbal foreplay Bogie and Bacall do over a meal, you’ll appreciate what Azzarello and Risso are doing here. First one I really loved of their installment. The best Batman I’ve read in a bit, and it had no Batman in it. Excellent. A+.
KAMANDI- Wow! Kamandi also ups there game with their best installment yet. Fantastic. A+.
Superman- Beautiful art, but Arcudi seems to be pacing his story for the book, rather than the page. B-/B.
DEADMAN- Picking up the slack from Superman manages to turn out their best installment to date. Fun. B/B+.
GREEN LANTERN- I’m finally getting into this series and its right stuff feel. B+.
METAMORPHO- Finally Neil Gaiman has decided to start actually writing a story and I’m intrigued. B/B+.
Teen Titans- I don’t know what it is about the number #4 but even the Titans turned in a compelling installment this time. B.
STRANGE ADVENTURES- Paul Pope continues to rock. A/A+.
SUPERGIRL- What the heck. Even this one was great! Made me laugh! B+.
METAL MEN- Brilliance. Pure Brilliance. A+.
Wonder Woman— nope
Sgt. Rock- Still feels like it’s treading water. C.
Flash/Iris- Is still very good, but perhaps a bit confusing. B.
Demon and Cat- Uhhh— beautiful art. Story is a nope.
HAWKMAN- Wow. I thought this was fantastic. From the invasion to the JLA to the last line. B+/A-.
#5 WEDNESDAY COMICS 5 AUG 09-
Batman- Azzarello and Risso are hitting their stride. B/B+.
KAMANDI- Kamandi rocks! A.
Superman- Nice retelling of an oft told origin. B.
DEADMAN- Wow! Pretty intense. B+.
GREEN LANTERN- It’s rockingly good now. B+.
Metamorpho- not a fan of what Gaiman is doing here. C-/D.
Teen Titans- A little heavy-handed been there done that. But at least it’s solid storytelling now. C.
Strange Adventures- A nice lull. But still fun. B.
Supergirl- Fun. B.
METAL MEN- Beautiful art. Solid fun. B+.
Wonder Woman- unreadable
Sgt Rock- Good art, but it’s like Andy Kubert has no idea how to advance the plot.
FLASH IRIS- Good stuff. B+.
Demon Cat- Great art, a boring story. C-/D.
HAWKMAN- Here’s the best compliment I can give this HawkMan serial… I want to own every single page! Baker is amazing, particularly when you consider outside of Ben Caldwell he’s the only one doing the entire strip by himself (Paul Pope does everything except colors). But where Caldwell’s strip is not reader friendly, Baker’s has weekly been one of the serials I look forward to and enjoy the most. B+.
#6 WEDNESDAY COMICS 12 AUG 09-
BATMAN- Some beautiful visual storytelling. B+.
KAMANDI- Beautiful as always. Fun/ great. B+.
Superman- Beautiful art. Not enough there to say anything about the story. C+.
Deadman- Intriguing. B/B+.
Green Lantern- I’m on board. Fun stuff. B/B+.
Metamorpho- uhhh— Gaiman’s work leans heavily toward filler/treading water. C-/D.
Teen Titans- I’m enjoying the story now. Intriguing. B.
STRANGE ADVENTURES- Lives up to its title. Pope consistently weaving an engaging and brilliant narrative. A-.
SUPERGIRL- Okay since issue #4 this has been consistently really fun! And this issue continues the streak. B+.
METAL MEN- I continue to toss accolades at this strip, but that’s because week in and week out it continues to earn them. Here the METAL MEN take on the mastermind of the bank robbery they’ve been foiling the past 5 weeks, only to realize that bank robbers are the least of their problems. B+/A-.
Wonder Woman- unreadable
Sgt Rock- Well story is finally moving. C.
FLASH/GRODD- I was getting confused, timetravel does this to me, but I read all six issues back to back again, and confusion is cleared up. Remarkably inventive and fun. Wacky stuff and fun Grodd strip this time. B+.
The Demon and the Cat- I hate a non-rhyming Demon. D.
HAWKMAN- I’m really loving the heck out of Hawkman. After a couple odd steps, it’s feeling back on solid ground. And I’m loving Bakers art. B+.