Wednesday Comics, DC’s experimental format, has now ended, so let’s talk about how well it did. Keep in mind that I am not a fan of the superhero genre — not in its modern-day “serious” incarnation, at least — so there are certain bits of it that just aren’t going to click with me anyway.
For the series overall, it was certainly a good attempt. It really is a shame that some of the writers couldn’t turn off their decompression engines for a moment and thus a lot of the stories dragged. I think DC picked a nice variety of characters to go with, even boasting a few different genres.
Story by story, then:
Batman – I’m going to earn the hatred and disgust of every comics blogger, but post-DKR Batman just doesn’t do anything for me, and neither did this story. I found it to be slow and uninteresting, with a mystery I didn’t care about solved in some way I didn’t even notice.
Kamandi – Definitely the high point of the series, and I don’t even like the Prince Valiant one-panel-and-narrative-text format. Great, dynamic art, a well-paced story, and most of all it made me want to read more Kamandi (both past and any future ones they want to do.)
Superman – Christ, what a mess. For half the story, Superman mopes around not doing anything super and then reveals it was all a plot! Punch! Bleah.
Deadman – I was not expecting to get too much into this, not really knowing much about the character, but I thought it was pretty well done in the end. I wouldn’t run out and buy a Deadman series after this, but I’ve got a better appreciation for the character now.
Green Lantern – Another mess caused by the writer lollygagging around. Every single stupid panel in the stupid bar should have instead been used to show Green Lantern fighting a goddamn space battle, which he eventually gets around to doing. You can almost point to the exact panel where Busiek says, “Oh crap, I guess I better start telling a story here!”
Metamorpho – An oddly paced story. Gaiman throws away a few pages on single panels that don’t do much of anything to further the plot, then does a wonderful two-issue trip through the periodic table, but also glosses over scenes we would love to see. But all in all it was a fun ride along with a great character and yes indeed, I would buy more of this.
Teen Titans – I’m going to be generous and say that I think this strip wasn’t aimed at me. I quit reading it on issue three.
Strange Adventures – A novel take on Adam Strange, who is a character I like. While I prefer the mad science of the “real” Adam Strange stories to the John Carter science-fantasy here, and I’m not a huge fan of Paul Pope’s style (safe to say it, since I’m already being hated for not liking Batman) the story worked for me and was a lot of fun.
Supergirl – No complaints here. An utterly charming story, with healthy doses of action, humor, and cool stuff, drawn in an inviting style.
Metal Men – I love the Metal Men, so it would be tough for them to disappoint me here, and they did not. It had everything I want to see in a Metal Men story and great art by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez as a bonus!
Wonder Woman – A lot of folks gave up on this right away, as the dense pages were very hard to follow. I heeded their warnings and went in cautiously and found it to be not as bad as people were making it out. That being said, though, I finally quit reading by issue 7, as the story payoff just wasn’t worth the effort to get it. This could be a rare case of too much compression.
Sgt. Rock and Easy Company – Definitely not my thing. This really was a six-page story expanded to twelve, and a mediocre six-pager at that.
Flash/Iris West – A great idea, splitting the Flash story into two strips, an actioner and a soap opera one. But it just doesn’t work. The “Iris West” strip, instead of having a life of its own, soon just becomes more panels for the Flash strip, and eventually the conceit is given up on anyway. And was it me or did the last two pages just not make much sense at all? I got a feeling of, “Welp, let’s wrap this up! THE END!”
Demon/Catwoman – Had no idea what was going on by issue 4, and I stopped there.
Hawkman – I said before that it takes the light from “giving a damn about Hawkman” about 400 years to reach me and this story didn’t really change me. Oh, it was a good enough story — lots of action, crashing planes, dinosaurs — what’s not to like? But Hawkman himself could have been just any generic superhero, which has always been my feeling about him. He’s just not that interesting.
So there you go, and for the most part I enjoyed it more than I didn’t. I think it was a noble experiment, and I hope it encourages to try similar anthology series again in the future, as I don’t mind reading things like the Metal Men, Supergirl, Kamandi, and such, and there’s definitely a place in it for Superman and Green Lantern stories in which things happen. Hopefully if DC does this again they’ll learn from the pacing problems this time and Wednesday Comics II will be really good.