A Week in Ink: Issue No. 32

On October 11, 2011

Swamp Thing No. 2

    With their last few Issue No. 1's flying off store shelves faster than a speeding bullet, this week is the pivotal turning point for DC's historic milestone.

    If readers continue with the stories that writers presented four weeks ago, then the comic genre's recession may see a substantial rebound. If not, then DC's triumphal canon reboot is going down in hand-drawn flames.

    Thankfully, with titles like Action Comics, Animal Man and Scott Snyder's masterwork, Swamp Thing, hitting shelves this week, we'll most likely see more of the former than the latter.

    What Snyder does so well in each issue is that he goes out of his way to set up a personal relationship with the reader. Tangents meld perfectly into the comic's overarching plot, and he presents hardships on his characters in a way that is both beautiful and too painful to ignore.

    Furthering this effort is artist Yanick Paquette's revolting and incredibly unnerving jam-packed panels. Revealed through this issue, however, is a monster so marvelously morbid that even Swamp Thing himself cringes at mere mention of the beast. Paquette provides unique panel structure that at times makes the story a bit disjointed yet it helps to separate the organic original from the bunch.

    Of all the issues that came about after DC's jockeying for comic control, Swamp Thing remains one of the most interesting and intelligently crafted of all its cape and cloak competition.

Deadpool No. 44

    Wade Wilson's excursion overseas nearly comes to a grinding, bloody conclusion and for once, the mouthy merc is left utterly baffled and humorless.

    Almost every facet of Deadpool's expansive character is presented in this issue, but even when given the keys to the character's extensive armory of quips, one-liners and fourth-wall shattering shenanigans, writer Daniel Way barely manages to produce a half-decent plot.

    Perhaps somewhat expectedly, Wilson's 30-page quasi-fanfic is more skin-deep slapstick than consistent plot development. While this issue is leading to a slightly more impressive conclusion, the lack of substance is almost too severe to receive merit.

    Aesthetically speaking, however, Deadpool is absolutely stunning. Artists Carlo Barberi and Walden Wong collaborate to produce exceptional artwork, painting the Crimson Comedian with a stunning palette of vibrant reds and rich blacks. Deliveries of Wilson's one-liners have never been stronger, as the team works diligently to make each and every panel flow coherently and isolate text to make Wilson's voice the appropriate focal point.

    While this issue won't serve as the ideal launching point for new readers to spend some quality time with Marvel's most incompetent comedians, for longtime schizophrenic scholars "Deadpool No. 44" is just more of the same old Wade Wilson, and is worth its bargain-basement price of $2.99.

Chew No. 21

    Tony Chu has had a rough year. Losing a partner, getting a promotion, losing said promotion, losing a second partner – needless to say, Chu's got a lot on his plate.

    Writer John Layman produced the world's first Cibopath – an individual who can see into the past of whatever fruit, meat or decaying body part is in his mouth at the time being – and the world has never looked back.

    Opening with Chu's boss handing over a transfer form that moves him from FDA special agent down to parking cop, "Chew No. 21" begins a new chapter for the world's most culinary-adept investigator.

    Layman does well to write stories that are both self-contained and integrated into the series' overarching plot. While Chu finally gets some well-deserved recognition at this newest spike in his career path, Layman has set the stage for a very serious and, in Chu's case, morbidly funny, turn of events.

    For those uninitiated into Chew's realm of decrepit delicacies, the series is truly one of the most interesting indie comics on the scene. And while Chu as a character may seem slightly estranged at times, Layman's champion of truth and justice serves his work as the perfect protagonist.

    After winning its 2010 Eisner award, Team Chew marches forward, relentlessly serving up comic after comic of incredibly stomach-churning and gut-busting humor. If the existence of "Chew No. 21" is any indication, there's no sign of Chu's adventures ending any time soon.

Email: arts@ubspectrum.com


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