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Writer's block sucks. Especially for Willard Penn, a comic book writer and artist whose comic book starring the Batman-looking-for-love Dark Hour is at a standstill. And things are about to get a lot more complicated.
I wrote a news story about Reality Check awhile back and I would suggest reading the issue before reading that since the big hook of the story mentioned in all the news stories and previews is what happens on the very last page of this issue.
Willard Penn's story and his "origins" so to speak take up the majority of this issue. I'm glad writer Glen Brunswick (Non-Humans) took this approach considering Dark Hour's story is corny. But I think it's meant to be. Penn uses groan-inducing lines like "Men would willingly lay down their lives for a momentary smidgen of carnal knowledge with her" or "that dark navy soup... that Angelenos are forced to breath daily."
I like Penn's story more than the comic book story he's writing. All of his scenes seem to have connotations attached to them, like when Penn is at Starbucks and sketching people. He puts the women in tight leather outfits which we see many female villainesses dressed in and the real women all could care less for Penn's drawings. There's one moment I particularly like when a woman seems to be warming up to the idea of skin-tight leather if it was a film sketch but immediately rejects Penn when she finds out it's for a comic book. It's moments like this that have many connotations attached to them that mimic real-life and make this story very relatable.
At the café Penn acts somewhat like a pig. However, Brunswick manages to keep Penn from being a sleezeball we don't care about. With a look at Penn's past, we learn about his strong relationship with his brother which really made this issue work for me. It was touching and brought a dark element into the story. The outcome of the story also makes what happens to Penn seem all the more sad and you can really sympathize with his character.
Viktor Bogdonavic's art can be really clunky in some spots. The quality of the characters goes down in some panels and the backgrounds are either passable or don't exist at all. But when the characters aren't drawn clunky they are, like the backgrounds, passable. Expressions are drawn pretty well on faces, but no panels really stand-out. Just like the colors, which don't really add or take away anything from the artwork.
This story is more than just a guy with writer's block. It offers many elements that I think anyone aspiring to do something can relate to, and the consequences of what can happen when you follow your dreams a little too closely. The meta concept is also something you don't see often and I always like a concept that hasn't been done a million times before. I don't always like how it's written and the artwork is weak in many places, but the premise is great and with the last page I can't help but be anxious to see what direction the story is going to take next.
But really... "a momentary smidgen of carnal desire"?