Javier Grillo-Marxuach and Les McClaine
We’re back in the world of the Middleman and in this issue the plot advances, sarcasm abounds, and of course more monsters and weird stuff shows up. In the previous two issues Wendy found out that weird monsters/aliens/human hybrid things really do exist, and a mysterious stranger named the Middleman is the one that helps take care of these issues…and he offers Wendy a job and she excepts, somewhat reluctantly. It’s been a entertaining ride so far so hang on for more in this thrilling adventure series.
Our story begins at the Middleman’s lab/home/cave/place. With the help of Ida, who also doubles as an electron microscope, Wendy and Middleman are able to examine the clue found in the last issue–a banana. And they discover genetically modified monkey spit! There’s only one place that can come from so they head to Simionics Animal Research lab for answers. The apes in this facility are having their IQ’s heightened and trained for various projects. And one ape, Spanky, was being trained to pilot space shuttles. Before he escaped. And apparently before he went off the deep end. Spanky apparently had a fascination with the mafia, specifically mob movies like Scarface. The Middleman heads into a local mafia hangout to find some answers and have a throw down with some of the mobsters. And that leads them to Spanky’s hideout. They make their way into his inner lair and then Spanky escapes…right into a local monkey park at the zoo. How will the Middleman and Wendy find him amongst all of these apes?
One of the worst things about reviewing a continuing series that’s only a few short issues is that the artwork really doesn’t change much so it makes it difficult to find something unique to discuss with each issue….but I really like this series. I’m still not the biggest fan of how the shading is down, but if it works why change it right? The line art continues to remain fantastic and I love the way the characters have been created and the visual expressions on their faces. The artist and the writer have a really good collaboration together and that allows for some interesting visual sequences, such as when Wendy and Ida interact together. It’s almost like you can see the snark pouring off of them and you don’t really need the words to know whats going on.
I love the sense of humor and the snarkiness of the characters, mostly because they remind me of me in some ways. The characters work well with each other and as time passes we get more and more of their character and purpose revealed to us. Once they revealed that the central vilian was a monkey the writers could have gone down the obvious path and done a “Planet of the Apes” theme. But instead…they just briefly touched upon it and then took us down an entirely different path. It’s fantastic! There are just so many great parts to this story, such as Spanky being influenced by Mafia movies, like the Godfather and the Middleman has a flaming sword! I mean where did that come from?
As I mentioned in the paragraph above the artist and the writer work really well together. It’s fun to see how they develop the characters and where they’re taking the story, such as the Middleman pulling all kinds of ojbects out of his pockets (including the flaming sword, not flaming while in his pocket, but still.) I can only imagine the fun they had deciding and designing the stuff.
I can’t wait to find out what happens next in this universe. I like the universe and the world that’s been created and I love the snark between Wendy and well pretty much everyone else. I look forward to reading future adventures. And I know that if I come across a monster these two are first on my list to call.