Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Sixpack & Dogwelder: Hard-Travelin’ Heroz #5 Review and **SPOILERS**

This is Ground Control to Major Barf

Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Russ Braun
Colorist: John Kalisz
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: December 28, 2016


Dr. Timothy Leary suggested we all “tune in, turn on, and drop out,” but I prefer the wisdom of Sixpack that suggests we “drink lots, puke more, and pass out.” This has been a pretty metaphysical series for a comic book about a bunch of weirdo monsters and scumbag humans, owing quite a bit to the inclusion of John Constantine as a kind of life guide for Dogwelder. We’re in the home stretch now, so do you think Hard-Travelin’ Heroz will return to its regularly scheduled programming of fart jokes and sex crimes? I dunno, read on to find out!

Explain It!

John Constantine and Section Eight are holed up in an Egyptian motel, after having escaped the collapsing tomb of mummies and Dogwelder secrets last issue. On the television news, a vaguely-Dan Ratherish guy says that the two stars Sirius A and Sirius B are on a collision course that will wipe out the galaxy. Luckily, the Justice League of America has an alien artifact that they’re pretty sure is going to fix thing. Like, ninety percent sure. Like, it will probably fix most of the issues, but there still might be a couple of Anti-Monitors to fight. No big deal. In the motel room, John Constantine is having none of it—he knows this is a stalling measure by the JLA, which Sixpack keeps insinuating he’s joined. Constantine’s accent has devolved into a ridiculous cockney sputter at this point, and it’s hilarious. You don’t have to go far to make me laugh, just make fun of someone’s dialect and I’ll smile. Dogwelder is still feeling pretty dejected, having learned that he is cursed to weld dogs to people’s faces and still doesn’t know why, when Constantine points out that this issue between the two Sirius stars might be of some importance, considering Sirius A is…the dog star. So he’ll have to weld it to someone’s face, I assume?

The team is rocketing back to America to hop on the space shuttle being sent to intercept what is definitely going to be a supernova if not an outright black hole, universe-destroying event. Mystics around the world have their eye on this situation, though, and…oh god, this is hilarious, they all talk like John Constantine. Even the one who looks like the evil witch from Disney’s Snow White is smoking a silk cut cigarette and spewing some cockney drawl. Hysterical. Upon arriving at a NASA platform, the group stealthily smashes through the window of where the savior astronauts are suiting up, clobbers the lot of them, then takes their uniforms in an endeavor to take their places on the shuttle. Sometimes the simplest plans are the most effective. In the locker room, Sixpack has a heart-to-heart with Dogwelder, essentially fishing for compliments, but gets little satisfaction because Dogwelder is basically Section Eight’s Swamp Thing now. He’s operating on a different metaphysical plane, dude.

After Sixpack has expended himself into a sobbing mess, the Section Eight team boards the spacecraft, not even trying to conceal their identities. Indeed, I’m not sure how Sixpack was even able to fit into his pilfered costume since none of the other astronauts were five-foot tall dumpy fellas. What’s also funny is that Constantine (who gets to wear the same space helmet he’s had throughout the series, naturally) is carrying his surfboard. I suppose since this mission will be successful or all life as we know it (and even several forms we do not know) will expire, they can afford to get relaxed with security. One last look to a cheering crowd, and Section Eight boards the shuttle and takes off for locations unknown!

This issue had more gags than the last one, but there still wasn’t much of a story. Section Eight and John Constantine go to a space shuttle launch and board the shuttle, that’s about the size of it. We learn about this imminent space cataclysm that I don’t recall hearing about before, but it’s possible that there were comments I didn’t think pertinent and didn’t record at the time. This is still a great series that is a bit more esoteric than the last miniseries, but my interest is starting to wane. Luckily for me, it all wraps up with the next issue! Good thinkin’, creative team!

Bits and Pieces:

Some great gags and a little inside baseball make for an entertaining read, though the story moves along incrementally. More soul-bearing by Sixpack, more poking fun at John Constantine, and a whole lotta silliness. This is probably the calm to the last issue's storm, and the book looks great so it's always a quality buy. But I do think this was paced correctly, since I'm about ready for it to end.


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