Overview

The Middleman, Vol. 2 #2

Review

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The Middleman, Vol. 2  #2

Credits

  • Words: Javier Grillo-Marxuach
  • Art: Les McClaine
  • Inks: Les McClaine
  • Colors: N/A
  • Story Title: The Winnebago Interrogation Contingency
  • Publisher: Viper Comics
  • Price: $2.95
  • Release Date: Mar 29, 2006

Wendy discovers that the stakes are even higher than she expected in the kidnapping of Sensei Ping. The clock is ticking but the Middleman is shutting her out!

Javier Grillo-Marxuach continues his send-up of all things action-adventure, pulp, and comic book. Is it possible for a satirical action-comedy comic book to make it in today’s market?

Stung over her mistake, which allowed Sensei Ping to be kidnapped, Wendy is ready to redeem herself. The Middleman, however, now considers her more a liability than an asset. Particularly since they only have 24 hours to recover Sensei Ping or his Clan of the Pointed Stick will hunt them down and kill them! As Wendy returns home in defeat, the Middleman pursues the clues that will lead him to the band of masked Mexican wrestlers who have taken Ping. Luckily for Wendy, and for the Middleman, Wendy’s roommate holds a clue to the case. Things seem to be falling into place for the intrepid heroes...which means that things can only go horribly wrong.

Javier Grillo-Marxuach’s first Middleman miniseries was greeted with much critical acclaim and success. His follow-up here is every bit as entertaining. The dialogue is filled with one-liners and pop culture references with a wicked satirical undertow. The juxtaposition of such diverse elements as masked Mexican wrestlers, a cranky martial arts master, and the even crankier Ida the android is inspired lunacy. The author fills the plot with action movie and comic book parodies and in so doing satirizes those very same conventions. This forces the reader to see these old plot techniques in a new and fresh way.

Les McClaine returns to the series as illustrator as well, bringing along his unique style. The thick lines and dotted shadings take a little getting used to at first but it quickly puts the reader in mind of some of the great, old newspaper strip art. The cartoony character designs also mesh well with the elements of parody and satire.

The Middleman is a comic that can be enjoyed on a number of different levels – as a breezy action-comedy, a parody, and a satire. This title has become one of the funniest comic books on the shelves today and the creative team deserves cheers and success for this wacky and inventive story. I can only hope that the end of this series will not be the last we see of the Middleman and Wendy.

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