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.


Monday, June 12, 2006


All yours for a shiny two bits.

Written by Mike O’Sullivan and Drawn by Josh Medors
Published by Devil’s Due

As the main JOE series has maneuvered through its first year if issues, scribe Joe Casey has been careful not to bring out too many of the trappings from the previous volume. Cobra has been seen in spurts, and putting continuity aside in order to make the book friendlier to new readers has been paramount. But even a new reader knows that the series’ primary villain cannot be held back forever. Much like the Fantastic Four will always have to face Dr. Doom and the X-Men will have to square off against Magneto, the Joes are going to have to go head-to-head with the king snake himself, Cobra Commander. O’Sullivan’s short story that leads this issue details what’s been going on behind the scenes of the regular series since the beginning, whetting the appetite for whatever the world’s worst terrorist has in store. The back matter, which offers up dossiers and histories for the series and its characters, are very well executed and useful to readers new and old. Perfectly executed.

Written by Greg Pak and Drawn by Nigel Raynor
Published by Dynamite Entertainment

To say that I’m a huge fan of the TV show would be undercutting it a tad, so I was extremely anxious to see how this was going to turn out. What makes GALACTICA the show a success are the characters and their conflicts; science fiction barely plays a role in the show. Therefore, one of my greatest concerns about taking the series into the comic realm was that the lack of budget hindrances would send Pak away from what’s brilliant about the concept and into the land of kewl. Fortunately, while there is a bit more of a sci-fi feeling here than you might get on the show, this generally feels right, story-wise. That isn’t to say that there aren’t struggles; character voice is an issue; in particular, Apollo and Starbuck aren’t quite right. But Pak nails President Roslin and the elder Adama to a t. The ending cliffhanger is either an idea steeped in genius or a scenario that Pak will never be able to satisfactorily resolve, but either way, I’ll be in it for the long haul to see how it plays out.