The Middleman, Vol. 2 #3


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The Middleman, Vol. 2  #3


  • Words: Javier Grillo-Marxuach
  • Art: Les McClaine
  • Inks: Les McClaine
  • Colors: N/A
  • Story Title: The Sino-Mexican Revelation
  • Publisher: Viper Comics
  • Price: $2.95
  • Release Date: May 3, 2006

The Middleman and Sensei Ping have been captured, Ida the robot has been blown to pieces, and now all their fates rest on Wendy Watson!

Picking up an issue of The Middleman is an invitation to simply sit down and laugh out loud. From the previous series to the current run, this title is one of the most consistently funny. Somewhat like some of the best movies from the Zucker Brothers/Jim Abrahams team, The Middleman blends outrageous antics with satire and sarcasm and wraps it all up in a big pop culture bow. As this series winds down to its conclusion, where is it headed?

With Middleman and Sensei Ping in the hands of the Mexican masked wrestlers, we finally learn why the wrestlers have been after Sensei Ping. More to the point, they are ready to kill Ping for his "crime." Some quick thinking (and talking) on Ping’s part gets him out of the frying pan but puts Middleman into the fire! Meanwhile, Wendy is determined to set off and save them all from the masked wrestlers and the retribution of Ping’s Clan of the Pointed Stick. Is the rookie Wendy up to the task?

Javier Grillo-Marxuach’s "no-holds-barred" approach to writing means that the reader never knows what may lie on the next page. The lunatic plot is unpredictable and often absurd but it moves at such a brisk pace that the reader has no time to stop and question it.

Even the stock, stereotypical nature of the characters works to keep the story moving along. The Middleman is perfect shorthand for a typical square-jawed, Golden Age, Dudley Do-Right, heroic figure and Marxuach drops this archetype wholesale into his modern satire and it works brilliantly. Wendy Watson, while mostly formed of the attributes of the stock Tough Girl mixed in with the Ace Rookie figure seen in so many movies, is made appealing through the liberal application of serious sass.

Artist Les McClaine conspires with Marxuach in this kind of shorthand by using a lot of old-fashioned pulp character designs. This pulp tradition is fused, though, with a hint of modern cartoon style. Even the black and white, newspaper shading fits with the tendency to pull from various types of media and culture within the story. McClaine, though, still handles the action sequences with a dynamism that keeps the art moving.

If you are looking for something to lift your spirits and give you a laugh look no further. So where is this title headed? Who knows? The one thing for certain is that it will be a wild, weird ride. With The Middleman you will always be in the middle of something fun.

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