Wednesday, July 8, 2009

This wednesday's comics includes...Wednesday Comics!

I'm not really a fan of the DC Universe. It seems to be that many of the DC Universe books assume that their audience are heavily invested in the ongoing saga of the DC Universe. Me, I'm heavily invested in the ongoing saga of the Marvel Universe (they pay me to be) so I can't find it in my heart to make room for another shared universe. When I want something different from Marvel's output I look just about anywhere (Vertigo, Wildstorm, Boom!, SLG, Image, Dark Horse, Adhouse) except the DC Universe.

But every now and then, DC does something that I can't ignore. Wednesday Comics is such a project. Along with a fine assortment of creators (Kurt Busiek, Kyle Baker, Mike Allred, Neil Gaiman, Brian Azzarello, Ryan Sook, Paul Pope, Walter Simonson), Wednesday Comics has a fascinating format - it's designed as a series of one-page strips featuring 15 different characters and creative teams. The book itself is fashioned after a newspaper comic section. To wit:

Each of the stories is told as a serial, just as they would be done in a newspaper comics section. Because most of these stripes have to introduce their cast and conflict (some of them don't manage to introduce one or the other) it will take some time to see just how good Wednesday Comics will be; based on this first installment there was one outstanding strip and one underwhelming strip.

The outstanding strip was Metamorpho, which I did not expect. In a single page Metamorpho's cast is introduced and the hero completes an in-progress quest for a giant pearl, fighting off a shark along the way. Then Metamorpho's next adventure is set up. It's refreshing to have so much action and plot in so little space, it breezes by more pleasantly than some of the strips.

The underwhelming strip is Teen Titans. It opens with an odd montage of Teen Titans past and present (for some reason Wonder Girl is depicted three times, twice in the same costume). Then the current Teen Titans - still looking like a montage - fight a mystery man named Trident, who is also the narrator. He stabs one of them through the chest. None of the Titans are introduced by name, which you would think would be a priority. The concept behind the team is barely touched on - Trident calls them "sidekicks of the world's greatest heroes" then goes on about how they're like a family. Only, Trident considers himself a hero and seems to consider the Titans, uh, not-heroes? He thinks he's doing some good by trying to kill the Titans. I'm sure there's a story behind this but it doesn't seem that interesting. I think that this strip - like so much of the DC Universe I ignore - takes it for granted that the audience knows and cares about the Teen Titans.

I think what will draw many people to this project is the opportunity to see some fantastic artwork blown up to immense sizes. Hopefully the stories will be worth coming back for too.

No comments: