The Wendell is a book you just need to recommend, a character that stays with you after the story, art that makes you pause and examine every detail, violence that serves the story without being graphic, and an ending that leaves you hopeful and yet a bit unsettled.
In essence The Wendell is about a guy who roams the streets fighting evil. The Wendell is about a guy who dresses up in a costume and roams the streets fighting evil. Okay, The Wendell is about a guy with some serious issues, no super powers, who dresses up in a costume and roams the streets fighting evil. We’ve all said it at some point in our comic book loving lives, these guys would be crazy to go out there and do what they do without powers or at least the bankroll some have amassed. And maybe you think you’ve seen this type of hero before but don’t be fooled, this isn’t Kick-Ass. He isn’t doing this for fun, this is his mission, his purpose. And even if he wanted to stop I don’t think the voices would let him. This guy is out there, alone, fighting the good fight the best he can.
And it isn’t going well.
This first issue does a great job of introducing The Wendell and his world. A world that seems to consist solely of his city, “Sprawling City”, or more specifically “Sprawling Heights Apartments” a collection of back-alleys and broken homes, populated with kindly aunts, foul-mouthed kids, drug dealers, and maybe the occasional ninja. And its “protector”, The Wendell.
Sprawling City is reminiscent of a lot of inner cities, not a horrible place but it has its share of trouble. But we quickly learn that not all the trouble The Wendell takes on is real and the real trouble will surely be more than he can handle. Wendell is a wonderfully tragic character, we want, need, to root for him, see him succeed, even though we know that if he keeps this up it’s probably going to go very wrong. But even a flawed hero can inspire hope, and by the end of issue one we see how that hope can take hold. And we see how that hope can be a good thing, or another tragedy in the making.
Enough about the story this is a comic so some discussion of the art is in order. Cee is not only the writer but also the penciler, inker, and letterer. While for some that may be problematic he handles it well, the book comes across with a tight cohesive vision and a style I truly love. The work he’s done on The Wendell shows Cee’s love for the medium, as well as the experience and talent to pull it off.
I want more of this story. I want to see what happens to these people, to this city.
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