It’s time for another review!
This week, it’s Palooka #3, which was written and lettered by Casey Van Heel, with pencils and inks by Ger Curti. There is no listing for a colorist, nor for an editor. That lack of editorial really shows.
There is no introduction, no “what has come before”, no summary of any kind in this issue. It starts and then stops, with no explanation given to much of anything.
The main character, which I’m guessing is the “palooka”, is very strong. We see him saving a man’s life during WWII, and that man takes him to Stalin, who decorates him. The war is won, and the palooka goes to the US with the plan to take it over. There’s some sort of power bestowment in there somewhere, and because the scientist who bestowed the power is a Nazi (his sympathies became apparent afterward), the palooka killed him. Why? Because he loves America.
The next story is about a wrestler (whom I presume is the palooka) getting caught up in a scheme to be a supervillain. This isn’t his idea. The palooka isn’t smart. He’s beaten up some by a “superhero” who threatens to kill him because the palooka won’t go along with the plan to spend a little bit of time in jail, and the palooka kills him instead.
And then, presumably because there’s some space to fill, there’s an ad that hearkens back to the days of the Hostess pie ads.
The stories are very straightforward and blunt. There’s no nuance here, and that’s okay. Nuance isn’t always needed. However, that same lack of nuance is also the reason there’s nothing even resembling an introduction or explanation of what we’re reading. That is hurtful to the stories being told.
This is lighthearted fare, and it is marred.
It isn’t marred by the art, though. The art is wonderful. It reflects the fun of the story superbly. It isn’t too cartoony, even though it harkens back to the 60s/70s with some of the compositions (like the cover) and character designs.
The unnamed colorist did their job well, also. There isn’t much of anything I’d have done differently.
Now, what was marred…
The writing was marred due to the lack of an editor. There’s hardly a comma to be found throughout the entire book, and there are a number of run-on sentences. Basically, the writer just decided to make a comic without knowing simple rules of grammar. (I see this a lot at The Proving Grounds, and my soul dies a little every time I run across it.) This hurts the reading of the story.
Again, the writer is also the letterer. There were some problems with the lettering. Luckily, all the balloons had the tails pointing to mouths, but there were a lot of captions and balloons that had too much space in them. At times, there were crossbar I’s where there shouldn’t have been, and no crossbar I’s where there should have been. A decent editor would have caught that.
In all, this wasn’t a bad little comic. I chuckled a couple of times. But I don’t like not knowing what I’m getting myself into, and the storytelling didn’t help much. Not for a third issue.
Final Verdict: Beautiful Strange