The characters in this book were last seen in last years All-Star Section 8 which recieved good to mixed reviews. Is the return of the characters worth a look and is it good?
Sixpack and Dogwelder: Hard-Travelin’ Heroz #1 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The DC summary reads:
In the tradition of the original Hard-Traveling Heroes, Green Lantern and Green Arrow, Sixpack and Dogwelder are ready to bring their allegedly socially aware brand of justice to the lands beyond Gotham City! After the events of ALL-STAR SECTION EIGHT, Sixpack is fighting to keep what’s left of his team together. Dogwelder has gone in search of his past, while newlyweds Bueno Excellente and Guts are dealing with some fidelity issues. Could Section Eight be done for good? But everything changes when a mysterious trenchcoat-wearing chain smoker offers our favorite dog enthusiast some clues about his true nature. Is Dogwelder everything he seems? Or is he meant for something greater?
Why does this book matter?
Garth Ennis is back writing the crazy whacked out team he introduced during his legendary Hitman run. Seeing as this is part of the Rebirth line in some sort of way we’re bound to get a new take on the completely crazy idea behind this team.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Can someone explain what that thing is in the background?
Full disclosure, I’m not completely familiar with these characters so take this review as someone going in completely blind. I can say, the dialogue is well written, the characters are rendered uniquely and are certainly visually different from each other. It’s nice to see Ennis writes in a few main DCU characters too. The bigger plot is interesting and should keep things moving forward. Basically put, this team stinks and they get no credit, so why not save the world to finally get some? The problem is, they seem to either be drinking too much or are too weird and lazy to actually save the day.
In customary Ennis fashion, there’s a heck of a montage that reveals the missions this team has been on that refer to other events (Secret Bars aka Secret Wars for instance). Ennis does well to make these characters feel like they’re average Joes who are simply slightly touched. They can’t help it, but dammit they’re going to use their powers for good.
The art by Russell Braun has a cartoonist look and feel when it comes to faces, which suits the heavy use of dialogue scenes. The darker inking helps give this book an adult feel, as it’s dark and captures the bar’s seedy feel. Braun imbues a lot of character and emotion into these weirdos, and even makes a pile of intestines seem quaint–which makes the proceeding conversations easier to swallow.
It can’t be perfect can it?
As a new reader, I was pretty lost as far as this team’s backstory and purpose. What their powers are remains to be seen as they don’t do anything but drink and talk in the issue. Dogwelder is particularly confusing since the book spends time presumably showing us his family, but he says nothing in the comic. Maybe he can’t speak, but it’s confusing as to what his purpose is in the series.
What the deal was with Starfire is also questionable. Maybe this is a running gag, but she seems loopy as hell and there’s no explanation why. The other heroes don’t even comment on it. Which leads us to…
They are somewhat likeable characters.
Is It Good?
Reading this comic, you feel out of the loop, as if you’re joining a party late and you’re not sure who the strangers are in the room. You try to make sense of it, but at the end of the day these are weirdos you aren’t going to get to know unless you put the time in. If you’re willing to do so, then this book is for you. If you want to hang out with folks who make sense and you’re familiar with, this is probably not your cup of tea unless of course you’ve read them before.