Welcome back to our weekly miniseries covering DC Comics’ broadsheet Wednesday Comics. The first three issues have been reviewed, so let’s get right into this week’s issue, which spotlights Metamorpho.
Mike Allred and Neil Gaiman’s Metamorpho strip has gotten off to a bit of slow start, but the artwork has been fantastic. This week, Gaiman ratchets up the tension with an appearance from a character that is supposed to be dead. And Gaiman should know — he killed her off, way back in Sandman #20. So, is this Element Girl the Post-Final Crisis Urania Blackwell… or something else altogether? We don’t know, but we do know that Simon Stagg will stop at nothing to get the Star of Atlantis.
Elsewhere this week: Bruce Wayne makes a play for suicide blonde Luna Glass at Gotham’s Lord Hotel as Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso’s Batman strip gets seamier.
Over in The Demon and Catwoman, it seems as if Jason Blood’s alter-ego has lost his status as a rhymer — or Walt Simonson has forgot. Stelfreeze’s art is as dynamic as ever, but once again this week, the colouring is disappointingly flat.
Better is Kyle Baker’s Hawman strip, which blows up into outer space as the Makkorthians attack in force. Batman and Hawkgirl make cameo appearances as does the JLA satellite. Baker’s art is spectacular as always, though he does trip up his cliffhanger with a particularly hoary bit of cornball dialogue.
The Kubert’s Sgt. Rock strip has been particularly claustrophobic, and this week sees Easy Co. catch up with the partisans and Rock’s interrogation come to an ugly end. Joe Kubert’s lines haven’t lost any of their grace or power, and son Andy’s dialogue and story have been similarly elegant and brutal.
Meanwhile, Flash Comics and sub-strip Iris West takes a left turn as the implications of having two time-addled Flashes come to the fore. Gorilla Grodd is ready for both of them; Miss West, we suspect, isn’t. As always, it’s a good read.
In a first this week, both Teen Titans (Eddie Berganza and Sean Galloway) and Wonder Woman (Ben Caldwell) pop off the pages. Titans has suffered from it attempt to reproduce Saturday morning animation style colouring on newsprint, while Caldwell’s crowded lines and panels haven’t been able to gain any traction. This week, Titans looks slick as the mysterious Trident goes mano a mano with Blue Beetle while Caldwell’s Wonder Woman is livened up by a trip to the Underworld, and an injection of some reds and oranges.
Best strip, as it has been every week, is Dave Gibbons and Ryan Sook’s Kamandi. This week, Dr. Canus’ dirigible is shot down by those damn dirty apes while the Last Boy on Earth tries to save the mystery girl. (Hint: I bet her necklace will come in handy.) Green Lantern (Kurt Busiek and Joe Quinones) is a little quiet this week as Hal flashes back to his first meeting with the embattled Joe Dillon, but is, as always, gorgeously drawn.
Not so good: Superman. It is just dragging. This week, Clark goes to the fair with his parents and then discovers something hidden in his barn. His ship? Plot twist? Potential excitement? We can only hope; right now, this is pure mope. His cousin is doing it better as the Super-Pets continue their reign of terror over the skies of Metropolis, racking up some serious property damage claims. Amanda Conner’s art, as always, is funny and adorable.
Last but not least, Dave Bullock and Vin Hueck’s Deadman finds the acrobat in a bit of a pickle while Paul Pope’s Strange Adventures sees that there’s a lot more to Alanna than Lord Korgo’s apemen know. And that mystery man in Metal Men? He’s wired to blow.
Next week: We begin our chats with some of the creators behind Wednesday Comics, so if you have questions, send ‘em along!
GEEK NOTE: You have been saving your issues, yes? Take WC #2 and #3, open them up to the Metamorpho stories, and put the pages together. You’ll see Mr. Allred has created one big super-panel that details Rex and his pal’s adventures upon reaching the island. … Trying to figure out what time it is? A close look at the Hawkman strip shows that this episode is in DC’s past: The JLA satellite is of the configuration first seen way back in 1970 in Justice League of America #78. That satellite was replaced in the new series (2007-present) by a bigger model, designed by Wildstorm’s Jim Lee.