Wednesday Comics, DC's summer experiment, is sadly over, and though my wallet is happy for the relief, I'm going to miss reading this It wouldn't be unfair to call it uneven, but there were more successes than outright misfires, I really dug the format, and the month's worth of issues were the first things I read out of each of the last three DCBS shipments. And now, like everyone else already has, let's break it down by strip:
- Batman - I mostly liked Brian Azzarello's noirish take, but the conclusion felt more like a stopping point than an ending, and the case never truly felt like something the Gotham PD actually needed Batman's help to solve. Eduardo Risso can draw the hell out of a femme fatale, though. Gradewise, I'd give this a B.
- Kamandi - Dave Gibbons and Ryan Sook could do this forever and I'd buy every single one. Paying homage to both Jack Kirby and Hal Foster, and doing it well in both cases, should be the hardest thing in the world, but they made it look effortless. A+ work all the way.
- Superman - Started off incredibly boring, if very nice to look at, but it came together decently enough in the final month. Way too much super-moping to get to that point, though, and haven't we had enough of that in the regular Superman books for the past decade? Call it a C+, largely due to the last four weeks.
- Deadman - I'm always happy to see a story where Deadman actually does something, rather than just inhabit other people's bodies and get angsty. Dimension hopping, fighting demons, kissing the girl... a long overdue change of pace for Mr. Brand. And Dave Bullock's art was a terrific compliment to the story he co-wrote with Vinton Heuck. Lots of energy and very expressive while being economical with his line. A-
- Green Lantern - I wish Busiek's story swapped out the weeks of exposition for the too-rushed alien invasion angle, but any story that gets me to actually like Hal Jordan for any amount of time (because generally I can't stand the guy) is doing something right. B
- Strange Adventures - Paul Pope needs to be made king of something. And not for just this "John Carter of Mars" take on Adam Strange, though it certainly goes a long way toward cementing my opinion. Fun, action-packed, and along with Kamandi, kind of justified the entire project in the first place. A+
- Teen Titans - Fun art in service of a bad story. Worse, a boring story. F
- Metal Men - A lot of my appreciation of this was due to the always spectacular artwork of Mr. Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, but Dan DiDio's story was decent, too, if by-the-numbers by Metal Men standards. And for once, his seeming appreciation for characters getting blowed up real good was well-served, because that's always been a Metal Men specialty (cheap shot, sure, but accurate). B
- Metamorpho - Even the material that was clearly filler was fun, so I think that counts as a success. And I appreciated how Neil Gaiman and Mike Allred played with the format with bits like the Metamorpho Club, the game board, and the Periodic Table strips, which I hope are framed on some science teacher's classroom wall somewhere. I think the time has come to finally check out the original Metamorpho stories, because if they're even half as enjoyable as this, I'll dig the insanity. A-
- Supergirl - The surprise gem of the series for me. I appreciated how Jimmy Palmiotti played the situations for humor, and yet no one ever seemed out of character. It didn't hurt to have Amanda Connor drawing this, either, who has a knack for mining even more humor out of everything with her tendency to put the main action in the background while drawing our attention to the minor details (Dr. Mid-Nite's owl, with a wounded tail, glaring angrily at a guilty-looking Krypto as Supergirl and the Dr. talk about the plot, for instance, killed me). Brilliant stuff. A+
- Wonder Woman - I'm going to call this the "noble failure" of the series. The story was far too involved for the format, and the convoluted layout and microscopic lettering made reading this a chore. But the artwork was just gorgeous... I gave up reading this more often than not, but I always spent time studying the art. I'd like to see Ben Caldwell attempt more Wonder Woman someday, though maybe in a more traditional (or at least better paced) format. The intentions and the delivery average out to a C, I think.
- The Flash - Easily the best use of the format out of the entire series, frequently using multiple strips to push the story along, each with their own art styles to boot. And yeah, the story got pretty confusing toward the end there (a point referenced in the finale), but clever and enjoyable all the same. Why have I taken so long to discover Karl Kerschl? He'll be on my radar from now on, to be certain. A
- Sgt. Rock - Twelve weeks of "Sgt. Rock gets up and leaves a room." Really, DC? Even with the beatdowns and (eventual) dead Nazis, this was still a boring slog through Boringtown, population: who cares because they're boring. Joe Kubert has still clearly got the art chops, though, which is the only thing that saves this from utter failure. D-
- Catwoman and the Demon - I get enough "Etrigan fights Morgaine Le Fay" stories in the cartoons, so this one had "seen it all before" written all over it even with the inclusion of Catwoman. And she spent most of the story not doing anything, anyway, so why even stick her in here? Not bad, not good, just kind of... there. I expect better from both Walter Simonson and Brian Stelfreeze. C-
- Hawkman - Kyle Baker built this one nicely over the 12 weeks, going from the alien invasion to the island rescue to, ultimately, Hawkman and Aquaman fighting a T-Rex.
Once again, that's Hawkman and Aquaman. Fighting a Tyrannosaurus rex. Which Hawkman taunts in the middle of the fight, by the way.
Kyle Baker is my new favorite person is what I'm saying. I mean, come on. There's nothing not awesome about that. A