Wednesday Comics in USA Today

Welcome back to our weekly miniseries covering DC Comics’ broadsheet Wednesday Comics.  As you probably already know, Wednesday Comics.  shipped on Thursday this week due to some American holiday, so we’ve adjusted our title to match. Don’t let that bit of logistical legerdemain stop you from visiting our Wednesday Comics Topics page where you’ll find our past installments, interviews with some of the creators behind the project, and some geeky notes on what’s going on.

So what is going on? This might be the finest single issue to date, with strong entries across the board. It feels a little silly to rank them, but we’re going to anyway.

Let’s start at the top, with the best strip of the week: It’s Metamorpho, which boasts crackling dialogue and the best cliffhanger of the series to date. If you ever needed a primer on the personalities that make Metamorpho the quirky and endearing property it is, this one-sheet by Gaiman and Allred fills the bill. The venality of Sapphire Stagg, the machinations of father Simon and the brutal idiocy of Java are all summed up in nine panels, with room left over for Algon to destroy the world. Not bad.

Second best is Batman, which goes in the opposite direction, needing only four clipped dialog balloons to get across to readers and moll Luna Glass that the Batman isn’t entirely human. Then again, a man who breaks a dog’s neck with one hand isn’t going to be confused for your run of the mill dude.

Ryan Sook and Dave Gibbons’ Kamandi? Breathtaking. The closeup shots of murderous ape leader Baaku and the Jeep advance on the wrecked Capitol Building are worth your $4 right there.

Supergirl continues to crank out the cute, somewhat obscuring the fact that it’s also about as close to perfect a strip as you’re ever going to get. Call me crazy, but I get the impression that the Super-Pets are about to save the day. (Hint: that the spaceship isn’t shaped like a dog bone for nothing. And the fish detailing? Yeah.)

Paul Pope’s Strange Adventures strip takes another left turn as Adam Strange gives Korgo the Blue Ape a one-way ride on the Zeta-Beam back to Earth. Is this a good idea? I’m not sure, but we’re going to find out. Pope’s thesis — which would kind of change the whole tenor of Rann in the DCU — is that Rannathan is a sort of super-structure above our Earth; an extension perhaps of what Grant Morrison did in [b]Final Crisis[/b] It’s heady stuff, and beautifully done.

The most complex strip at the moment has to be Karl Kerschl and Brenden Fletcher’s Flash. As is the case with Ben Caldwell’s Wonder Woman, Flash really benefits from being able to spread all the issues out and read them in sequence. As in Strange Adventures, Kerschl is playing with some heady time-travel stuff that conceals a romance-story core. It’s brilliant.

Quickly: The Kuberts’ Sgt. Rock reaches its climax as Easy Co. reached their captured leader; Hawkman is shown making a bad decision w/r/t to a dinosaur; and Tina says good by to Doc Magus in Metal Men as Chemo counts down to disaster.

Next week is the penultimate issue — and we have scheduled the penultimate guest. Join us next week for the last cliffhangers!

GEEK NOTES: Quick: Without looking, name the only character bullet on the splash page of Wednesday Comics that is drawn by the same artist drawing the accompanying strip. (For extra credit, name the artists to boot. Answers at the end)… Anyone noticed that the bank that Chemo is trying to destroy keeps changing its name? (See issues #2, #6, #8 and #9). Perhaps the bank is also victim to a sudden wave of consolidation. Or, perhaps it’s just a goof…Bad Latin II: According to my very rusty language skills, Algon tells folks: “I am king of the elements. The girl and the man are dead. I am the light of the world.” … Speaking of Metal Men, Yosemite Sam makes a cameo… on “Mark St.” Huh. …Answers (based on our best guesses) Superman looks like he is drawn by Jose Garcia-Lopez; Green Lantern is by Shane Davis; Batman looks like Neal Adams; Sgt. Rock is by Joe Kubert and Wonder Woman is by Adam Hughes. While Garcia-Lopez is drawing the Metal men strip, Kubert is the only artist to draw his character’s bullet and the strip.

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