Writer: Chuck Austen
Artists: Tom Derenick (p), Norm Rapmund (i)
Publisher: Wild and Wooly Press
‘Worldwatch’ is meant to be the comics adaptation of “Exposing Myself”, the tell-all autobiography of Dena Warchawski, a.k.a. War Woman, leader of the Worldwatch superteam. The story tells how team members’ personal relationships and corruption led to the team’s self-destruction. Issue #1 introduces us to the main characters and presents a typical day of violence, bickering, lying, and screwing. Issue #2 introduces Monarch, who seems to play a pivotal role in the story, and a weapon of irresistible power.
I waited until the second issue came out before writing this review for two reasons. One, I wanted to get a better idea of what the series was like before I gave my opinion. Two, there’s titty, and that always clouds my judgment.
I want to get this out of the way right now: There is plenty of nudity in this book. We get women with big, beautiful breasts flopping around. The second issue also has some dicks. Some of this nudity actually relates to the story. One team member started going out naked to satisfy her own sexual urges. Another member with superspeed got so sick of her top coming off, she goes without one. Both of their popularity and merchandising profits take off as well. Other members start going out with more revealing costumes. This led to several conservative heroes quitting the team. (All of that is explained in the biographies in the back of the book. We never see it happen, though I think it would make for a good issue #0.)
Issue #2 has an article for Wild & Wooly’s next project: a reprinting of ‘Nekkid Botoms, USA’, a XXX series in a nudist colony drawn in the Archie style. This comic-within-a-comic is discovered to have been written by Qabbala, mystic member of Wolrdwatch. This led people to believe ‘Nekkid Bottoms’ held secret spells hidden in the stories. It did seem to predict the destruction of the team. I fervently hope this is just a joke, and such a series isn’t really being published.
All this nudity leads me to believe Austen, Derenick, and Rapmund just wanted to draw some dirty pictures. I mean, given that the series features morally corrupt and sexually perverse characters, some nudity can be justified. But the inclusion of the ‘Nekkid Bottoms’ article convinced me they’re drawing titties for the sake of drawing titties. It’s cheap and sleazy. On the other hand, it’s also fun. Fun to look at and fun to draw.
Derenick and Rapmund do a great job here. The women are beautiful and the men are mighty. Every character is drawn different from each other. The art is very clean and easy on the eyes. The action is easy to follow and flows nicely from panel to panel. It’s nice to see Norm Rapmund working again. I can’t recall seeing his name on anything for over 10 years. It’s great to se his smooth, strong inks again. Derenick pencils the characters with muscles and flesh. These are real people with real bodies. You’ll also notice the small facial changes that express subtle changes in emotion. Nice work.
I wouldn’t quite call ‘Worldwatch’ porn, because of the characters. (And I don’t feel like whacking off to it.) These are not “good guys”. These are people who fight villains because they like hitting people. They like the attention and the sex their position bring. The closest things you have to heroes in Worldwatch are War Woman, Sergeant Mercury, and Doc Gulliver. War Woman lied about her origin and dated a supervillain. Gulliver has a thing for young girls and might have given his ex-wife superpowers against her wishes. Mercury is the speedster who goes topless. She’s young and naïve, innocent compared to everyone else. And some of them are complete assholes. The Intercessor uses God’s name to justify his arrogant and criminal behavior. He’s the first to be seduced by the power of the Celestial Sphere. Ramrod is a gay Greek god who hits on any man with two legs. This really complicates life for the straight teenage boy with whom he shares a body. In short, these people are going to destroy themselves. And because of their powers, they could take a lot of people down with them.
So is ‘Worldwatch’ a good book? In my final opinion, I’d say, “maybe”. I like reading it. I’m fascinated by these jerks. And I’m teased with such questions as, “How does the Celestial Sphere” destroy the team?” “When is War Woman’s affair with The Pharaoh revealed?” How does it all end? And whose fault is it?” This must be the appeal of watching reality TV. You don’t watch for a winner; You watch to see the worst come out of people. It’s always, “Who’s voted off tonight”, or “Who’s fired this week?”
Who dies first? And who suffers the worst?
That’s enough to keep me around.
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