Tuesday, June 13, 2006


The NEW Comics Waiting Room is still a week or so away. I swear to you: it’s coming. But in the meantime, these comics aren’t going to review themselves. So here are three new efforts from Viper Comics, one of my favorite indy publishers.

Written by Javier Grillo-Marxauch and Drawn by Les McClane

The second MIDDLEMAN limited series draws to a conclusion, and it’s all kinds of happy goodness. Wendy parachutes into the Mexican jungle on a mission to save her boss and Sensei Ping, but her problems are far greater than that. For instance, her skill at delivering a snappy one-liner when she takes down a baddie needs more than just a bit of work (the single funniest gag in the eight issues published to date). Plus, she had to leave her critically wounded ex-boyfriend behind to possibly die. Nothing’s easy for the poor girl.

That bit of sadness aside, the conclusion to the story packs a ridiculous amount of action, funny jokes, and even character development into the remaining space. The final battle against an army of Mexican wrestlers is executed with both panache and lot of hilarity, cementing my love for this book. MIDDLEMAN is one of my favorite comics, period. Can’t wait until we get to see some more!

Written by Adam Cogan and Drawn by Ryan Cody

Nick is a fuck-up. He has a great girlfriend who loves him, but he can’t keep out of his own way long enough to keep his job. Nor does he show her enough respect to tell her the truth. But his life is about to change, because Nick walks into the middle of a fight between the local superhero and a bad guy. And armed with the bad guy’s gun, he gets bold. Bold enough to discover that the superintendent of his apartment building used to be one of the most notorious supervillains of all time. Bold enough to decide that he doesn’t want to go looking for a regular job…

No question, the concept here is very strong. We don’t necessarily need to get behind Nick right away; there’s a character arc to be discovered here. But Cogan does make something a misstep that may make this difficult. Why? The first thing Nick does when he winds up with the aforementioned gun is to put on a mask and mug his former boss. Risky at that point to be able to sculpt an arc that will fully redeem him… if that’s even Cogan’s plan. I suppose it says a lot that I was struck hard enough by that action to care to see what happens as the story progresses. Have to call that a win for VILLAINS.

Written and Drawn by Wes Molebash

YOU’LL HAVE THAT is an enormously charming comic strip, done in the classic four-panel format. Molebash premieres his work on the web, and this is the first printed collection of his work. And hopefully, it’s just the first of many.

YHT is the story of newlyweds Andy and Katie. They met cute, fell in love, and now they have the true battle ahead of them: how to live together and figure out just how their marriage is going to work. Whether it’s a minor issue like how to properly share a bowl of salsa or a major issue like hygiene, the adorable pair has some work to do.

Molebash has a nice, simple art style, and his figures are very appealing. He has a solid grasp on his timing, so the punchlines flow exactly how they should. Nothing feels forced or mischaracterized. I enjoyed the book immensely, and it should do well in bookstores, having lots of appeal to the non-comics reader.


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