Welcome back to our weekly miniseries covering DC Comics’ broadsheet Wednesday Comics. Please visit our Wednesday Comics Topics page for past installments, interviews with some of the creators behind the project, and some geeky notes on what’s going on.
This is our final installment, and to celebrate, we’ve got a treat: You’re getting two WCTs for the price of one. We’ve got a special edition that focuses on the man behind the curtain, so after reading this, if you haven't already, please click over and read our “exit interview” with DC Art Director Mark Chiarello.
The whole kit and kaboodle wrapped up at shops last week. Since telling you what happened would kind of spoil things, instead we decided to give each strip a grade. So, if you want to find out what happened, pay the $3.99 or wait for the trade. Our grades are in the order of presentation in the book, not in order of merit.
Batman (Brian Azzarello, Eduardo Risso): A
The lead-off strip was one of the best. The idea itself was straight noir standard, but the breakup of the story into 12 vignettes that form a nuanced whole was genius. Risso’s art added a layer of menace to the proceedings, and gave Bruce Wayne a feral edge. Great stuff.
Kamandi (Dave Gibbons, Ryan Sook) A+
The best-drawn series in the book (and one of only two in the entire book that ended with a springboard. Go figure.) Gibbons and Sook self-consciously aped the old Prince Valiant stories, and in so doing, turned the adventures of the Last Boy On Earth into a must-read. Frankly, if newspapers were smart, they’d pay these guys to draw this strip each and every week, because it’s got that much pull.
Superman (John Arcudi and Lee Bermejo) C-
Bermejo’s art was glorious, but flatly coloured; Arcudi’s script was no better than serviceable. Sadly, DC’s arguably No. 1 character was the weakest part of this whole book, with a meandering, unremarkable storyline. This one should have been a lot better. Honestly, if it hadn’t been for Bermejo’s art, it would have flunked.
Deadman (Dave Bullock and Vin Hueck) B
This strip started out weak but improved as it went along. Bullock’s artwork reminded a lot of folks of Darwyn Cooke’s (not a bad thing) but with a blocky, early 60s Kirby-cast. The story wasn’t better than predictable, but it was propulsive fun nonetheless.
Green Lantern (Kurt Busiek, Joe Quinones) B+
Quinones is a major talent. Busiek is as well, but this wasn’t his best work. Quinones’ lumpy faces and expressive colours elevated a fairly slow-moving story and made GL a must-see every week… if not a must-read.
Metamorpho (Neil Gaiman, Mike Allred) B
Wildly uneven, Metamorpho veered from camp 60s homage to penetrating character study. Some weeks were disposable (the Snakes and Ladders strip comes to mind) but there were also some real glorious moments as well. One thing is for sure: We’d love to see more of Gaiman and Allred on Metamorpho — but minus the fake “house ads.”
Teen Titans (Eddie Berganza and Sean Galloway) C
Colouring played a big part in this strip’s reception, and some weeks the printers weren’t up to capturing Galloway’s animation-inspired scheme. Still, this strip really didn’t get the job done. The story never really grabbed readers, and the art was never better than serviceable.
Strange Adventures (Paul Pope and Lovern Kindzierski) A+
Nothing less than a wholesale re-imagining of the Adam Strange mythos for the 21st century, and an absolutely brilliant one to boot. Pope’s spidery, twitchy art was truly otherworldly.
Supergirl (Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner) A+
The cutest, funnest strip in the book. Also one of the best-drawn, and with the funniest twist. What more do you want from comics? Me, I want Conner drawing everything.
Metal Men (Dan Didio, Jose-Garcia-Lopez and Kevin Nowlan) B
The story wasn’t so hot, but the art was fantastic. And, y’know, sometimes that’s enough.
Wonder Woman (Ben Caldwell) C/B-
I have to confess that younger readers probably enjoyed this strip more than us aging, blinding comic book fans, so I’ve given this strip a split grade. I liked what Caldwell was trying to do — when I could make it out. Like the Teen Titans strip, printing also played a factor in some of the early issues. But overall, this one was tough to get into and even harder to read. Too bad.
Sgt. Rock (Adam and Joe Kubert) A-
Gripping, minimalist war comics, they way they used to be when… um, when Joe Kubert was drawing them. Pitch-perfect, but not as action-packed as it might have been. Still a real pleasure.
Flash (Karl Kerschl and Brenden Fletcher) B+
Beautifully drawn, lovingly designed, and maddeningly confusing. I’ve read and re-read the last few issues a few times and damn it if I know what happened beyond Barry getting the girl. (Which, y’know, he always does…which is kinda funny for a guy wearing a red bodysuit, when you think about it.) Still, this was the second or third-best drawn strip in the entire book, and that’s saying a lot.
Demon and Catwoman (Walt Simonson and Brian Stelfreeze) C-
A real disappointment. I hope other folks enjoyed this strip more than I, but as a big fan of both artists, I thought this one wasn’t close to what they can do. That said, I wasn’t up to snuff either and I owe Simonson an apology. The Demon was indeed speaking in a rhyme scheme (see WCT #1).
Hawkman (Kyle Baker) B
Love the art, hate the colouring that made said artwork almost impossible to decipher. Loved the story but hated the little kid with the big glasses.
Loved Hawkman. Never though that was possible. Maybe Baker deserves a B+.
Thanks for reading our coverage of Wednesday Comics. Hopefully it’ll be back next year — and if so, so will we.