Offbeat comics are always a nice reprieve from the superhero schlock offered week in and week out, but an offbeat superhero comic, now that’s special. We may not have loved the first issue, but dammit we’re giving this series a fair shot. Question is, is it good?
Sixpack and Dogwelder: Hard-Travelin’ Heroz #2 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? Read our full exclusive preview to find out!
Why does this book matter?
At this point if you don’t know who writer Garth Ennis is you probably haven’t been reading comics for very long. He’s not writing any primo titles right now, but the creator of Preacher has left a lasting impression on comics. This series deals in the world of Constantine (duh, he’s on the cover) so you know it’ll be a gritty look into superheroes.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Thi sis pretty great.
This is a funny comic book that plays with the idea that Spectre, though an all-powerful god, is just as ordinary in personality as any human. As Spectre screams at the protagonists from a giant green cloud, he grows impatient, expresses arrogance, and even calls someone on a giant cellphone. It’s ridiculous and over the top which makes it all the more funny. In the process we learn where Baytor actually came from and get to see the community (and even Batman) support him. Another funny element involves Constantine helping Dogwelder with a new ability he didn’t even know he had. Ennis essentially spends nearly every page of this book reminding us how silly and over the top superhero comics get by poking fun at the ideas of legacy, or gods who control all reality.
The art by Russell Braun is quite good, especially a double page spread showcasing Baytor’s time in Hell. The expressions Spectre throws off do a lot to convey his ungodlike demeanor which helps sell the humor. Plus he pulls off one of the most disturbing Dogwelder powers ever for comedic relief when it could have easily been gross and off putting. Props are in order for Pat Brosseau’s letters which pop off the page and make Spectre even more godlike in nature. When you see some of the stuff he says though, the lettering does a good job playing up the absurdity of the character.
It can’t be perfect can it?
It might be because I’m unfamiliar with Hellblazer, but the way he’s introduced–on a flying surfboard in an astronaut helmet carrying a laser blaster–is confusing as hell. I’m sure it’s some kind of inside joke poking fun at the silly things superheroes are put through, but not enough is said or done to explain what it’s in reference to.
What’s his deal?
Is It Good?
Garth Ennis proves his best work delivers commentary on the superhero world and this issue does just that. It’s funny in a big and boisterous sort of way while giving the heroes new direction and purpose.