Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Sixpack & Dogwelder: Hard-Travelin’ Heroz #2 Review and **SPOILERS**

You’d Think God Would Have an Amazing Sense of Humor

Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Russ Braun
Colorist: John Kalisz
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Cover Price: $2.99
On Sale Date: September 28, 2016


Okay, here’s my issue with Christianity. Mind you, I wasn’t raised a Christian, but it’s all part of the American milieu so I feel entitled to my issues: I cannot get past the idea that some guy that died two-thousand years ago is going to return. It sounds like the Mummy or something. I can jibe with the miracles and the parables, I’m willing to suspend my natural disbelief and take the Book of Genesis at face value, but the part about Jesus the Christ coming back into existence—to do anything—is a bridge too far for me. Of course, that leap of faith is sort of the central tenet of Christianity, and so I am not one. It seems so egregiously unlikely, given all we do know about death’s finality and the desperate wishes that our beloved deceased will someday come knocking on the front door and ask to watch the Big Bang Theory with us. I mean, that’s what Christianity amounts to, right? A sustained delusional mourning where we think there must be something wrong; the coroner must have filled the form incorrectly, or the autopsy wasn’t thorough enough, and any minute Grandma will rise from the grave and bake some of her delicious snickerdoodles again. Never mind that the reality of such a thing happening would reduce even the most robust undergarment into a sopping sponge, this is how we’ve all felt after interring our loved ones, and it’s this feeling that keeps the Christ boat afloat. What does that have to do with Hard-Travelin’ Heroz? Uh, well the Spectre is in it. Read on and find out what else is packed into this thing!

Explain It!

Can I just say how great it is that Steve Dillon did the cover on this?

So there’s a big problem with recapping this comic book: I could easily retell the plot beats of this story, add my little stupid quips and japes and slap a fairly meaningless score at the end. But much of it would sound completely insane without proper context. And in order to get the proper context, well you might as well read the entire book. For instance, right in the beginning we go back to Dogwelder’s encounter with John Constantine from last issue, when John promised Dogwelder he could do more with his inherited power than just weld canines to people. And this time, we see Constantine full on, riding a hovering surfboard and wielding a laser pistol, while wearing a space helmet on his head. And there’s a very good and funny reason these things are happening, but it’s absolute redundancy to reiterate it. You’ve just got to read this thing, folks, it’s crass and gross, but it has some of the best social and comics satire that I’ve seen in a long time. Like, I dunno—if you’ve truly, actually never laughed at a fart, whether it was your own or somebody else’s, then you won’t get this book. You’re also clearly an android and you should fulfill your prime directive in getting the murderous, parasitic alien back to earth at all costs. But if you can laugh at a poot, and you think the current state of comics needs to be taken down a peg, you gotta check this out.

Over by Noonan’s Bar, the Spectre is still gigantic and calling for Baytor, who we now learn is an escaped demon—once Lord of the Criminally Insane, in fact, who used to hang out with Etrigan and has been located to this area…unfortunately, the Spectre doesn’t know what Baytor looks like, so he’s hoping that the demon will give himself up. Being that Baytor can only say, “I AM BAYTOR!” and on top of that, he really likes saying, “I AM BAYTOR!” he’s somewhat impelled to give himself up, but Bueno Excelente, friend that he is, puts Baytor in a choke-hold that keeps him mum. Back at the alley, Constantine is explaining that the welding mask that turned Dogwelder into Dogwelder is a relic, passed down over a long time, affecting all who wear it with the power…to weld dogs to people, I suppose. Then John teaches Dogwelder his first trick: jam your forearm in to a dead dog through its butthole, and use it as a puppet to speak for you. Dogwelder is unsurprisingly eager to do this, but before learning the speaking trick he looks down the block to see the green, glowing cloud created by the Spectre. No time for street magic, he’s got to see what’s happening!

At the scene, Baytor cannot be restrained by members of Section Eight, and screams out “I AM BAYTOR!!!” right in the Spectre’s stupid, smug face. Before he can collect his bounty, Sixpack steps up and announces that he is Baytor! Then the gang at Noonan’s, gathered outside, says that each of them is Baytor, and this goes on until Reggie is teary-eyed and laughing so hard at a comic book that his wife asks what he’s laughing at, and then Reggie is ashamed to show her what he’s been reading. Spectre calls the Most High aka the DCU God on his cell phone to ask advice, just as Dogwelder and Constantine on his hovering surfboard show up. Spectre gets the word to bring down some serious wrath, but before he can Dogwelder thrusts his fisted canine forward and it utters, “We’re ALL Baytor!” Spectre regards this as the first sign of something, and recoils before vanishing entirely! And now it looks like Section Eight is going to get mixed up in some weird apocalyptic prophecy, which sounds about right when you think about it.

One thing I did not mention in my recap is that all of the Spectre’s dialogue is absolutely hilarious. I’ve long thought he talks like a teenage poet, and I loved seeing that taken down a peg. I also did not convey how hysterically John Constantine was portrayed, right down to his visor clamping down on cigarettes he attempted to light in nearly every panel. My recap did not do this book one bit of justice. It is one of the funniest things I’ve read all year. I’m not kidding about audibly laughing while reading it, and I laughed again the second time around. The art is impeccable, depictions of all the characters are absolutely spot-on, and drawings of Section Eight specifically are lavished with gross, funny detail. This is a great miniseries, especially for long-time fans of the DC Universe, who have a sense of humor. I should mention that if you don’t have a sense of humor, you won’t like it. One way to know if you have a sense of humor is that if you think your sense of humor is one of your best traits, then you probably don’t have one.

Bits and Pieces:

This is the funniest book on comic stands today. Oh, what's that? You think hipster Jughead is funnier? Nope. Oh, Adventure Time is a funny book, you say? Get your head out of your rear end. Hard-Travelin' Heroz is the funniest book on comic stands today, and should play best to seasoned fans of DC Comics. It also looks impeccable. Put your prejudices aside and give this miniseries a look!



  1. This was definitely the most enjoyable book of the week. Batman's cameo was awesome. I agree with your score, 9.5.

  2. For how wacky this book is, it feels like it's the most down to earth. This book is doing good stuff!