Comic Review – The Further Adventures of Nick Wilson #5

The Further Adventures Of Nick Wilson #5 Cover

It’s the opening day of The Nick Wilson Experience – a museum devoted to Earth’s first (and so far only) superhero. All-American Nick Wilson lost his powers almost as quickly as he gained them, falling far from the heights of fame and fortune he once enjoyed. He had been squeaking out a shameful living as a Nick Wilson impersonator at children’s birthday parties. Now, he’s getting ready to start earning an even more shameful living working for his former arch-enemy – billionaire genius Clive Morganfield – who financed The Nick Wilson Experience as a tax dodge and a way to finally “win” their rivalry by putting Nick under his control.

At least, that was Clive’s plan. There’s just one problem. Nick is MIA!

Has Nick regained his powers? Or maybe his self-respect? No, he’s searching downtown Cleveland for the bookstore that employs some woman he met at a bar, whose contact info he forgot to get.

Will Nick find the woman of his dreams? Will he find a way to be a hero and strike a blow for good without superpowers? Will Clive succeed in his evil schemes? And most importantly, will we see Further Adventures of Nick Wilson after The Further Adventures of Nick Wilson #5?

The Further Adventures Of Nick Wilson #5 Variant Cover

Clearly, I’m not going to answer those first few questions, but the last question can be answered with a resounding “yes”! At least, if writer Marc Andreyko’s afterword about this being “the end of the first Nick Wilson mini-series” can be believed. I think it can, but it’s worth noting that Andreyko also notes that he doesn’t know “when I will visit with Nick and Jane and Xavier…”

Hopefully the wait between visits will not be a long one, because this little series was something magical. The characters created by Andreyko and Eddie Gorodetsky feel like real people despite inhabiting an unreal world. The odds are good you know a lovable shlub like Nick or a woman like Jane who was the girl everyone wanted to be or be with in high school only to have everything go south after graduation. If you’re unlucky you probably know someone like Clive Morganfield, who will use whatever power they can get their hands on to indulge their petty grudges and devote their lives to feuds that no one else cares about.

Another interesting note is the way the series turns the city of Cleveland itself into a character. Cities have character, of course – personalities all their own. Yet few comic book settings ever seem to establish their own unique aura, with the notable exceptions of Gotham City as envisioned by Tim Burton, Metropolis as written by Dan Jurgens or James Robinson’s Opal City in Starman.

Talking of Starman, former Starman artist Stephen Sadowski brings it home with his performance on this final issue. His work is always fantastic, but the work here sets a new high-water mark. The colors and lettering, by Hi-Fi and A Larger World respectively – are also fantastic.

I don’t know when we’ll meet Nick Wilson and company again. I just hope that we do. And if we do not, we still got one heck of a story with great artwork before it ended. If you haven’t been picking up this series, be sure to order the trade-paperback collection that will be coming out soon. I will be very surprised if this series doesn’t get nominated for at least one Eisner.

10/10


Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.

Comic Review – The Further Adventures Of Nick Wilson

The Further Adventures Of Nick Wilson #1 Cover
Nick Wilson was once the most powerful superhero on Earth. In fact, he was the ONLY superhero on Earth. Fresh out of high-school, Nick somehow acquired the full complement of super powers. Flying. Super Strength. Bullet-Proof Skin?  The works! Though he donned the traditional cape and tights, Nick never bothered with a secret identity, a mask or a code name. He was always Nick Wilson and Nick Wilson became rich, famous and had his pick of all the beautiful women he wanted.

Then Nick lost his powers, as mysteriously as he gained them, The fame and fortune dried up. The women vanished. Now Nick is stuck eking out a living appearing at children’s birthday parties while pretending to be a Nick Wilson impersonator. It’s not much but it pays the bills on his one room apartment and his medical marijuana prescription. Or it would if Nick didn’t give away so many free appearances to needy kids.

Despite everything in his life going south and having become a national joke whose bad luck is tabloid fodder, Nick is still a hero at heart. But with his 30th birthday approaching, Nick is searching his life for meaning and a new direction even before he gets a phone call from his high-school sweetheart. And unbeknownst to Nick, there’s someone else from his past who wants to see him again too…

Deconstructions of the superhero genre are nothing new, whether they are played straight (as in Watchmen or The Dark Knight Returns) or played for laughs. The Further Adventures of Nick Wilson is definitely played for laughs but unlike the vast majority of stories that make light of costumed crime-fighters, its humor hits the target more often than not.

This is entirely due to the skillful script-writing and storytelling of Eddie Gorodetsky and Marc Andreyko. Emmy-winner Gorodetsky, a former writer for Saturday Night Live and Batman The Animated Series, and Marc Andreyko (who won an Eisner for his work on Dr. Strange) clearly know comedy and superheroes. What makes this first issue work so well, however, is that the script is almost entirely devoted toward developing Nick as a character and making him into a sympathetic protagonist that the audience wants to root for. We are made to care about Nick because we see that he is a good man dealt a bad hand, rather than a figure of pity. That doesn’t stop us from laughing as he copes with indignity after indignity, of course, but it makes the story much stronger.

Steve Sadowski – perhaps best known for his work at DC Comics on Starman and JSA – proves the perfect artistic partner to Gorodetskyand Andreyko’s production. I’ll admit a bias as Starman is my favorite comic series of all time (it’s responsible for my nickname, for those who care), but Sadowski’s streamlined yet detail-driven style suits this story just fine. Sadowski is versatile enough to depict both superheroic and slice-of-life sequences.

A word of warning, however. Despite the light tone and cheerful artwork, this is definitely NOT a kid-friendly title. There’s a liberal amount of expletives, adult situations and one embarrassing pixelated picture of Nick Wilson and three ladies in a compromising position. Mature readers with a decidedly immature streak, however, will love the laughs this book delivers and anxiously await Niick’s further adventures.

10/10.

The Further Adventures of Nick Wilson comes out January 17, 2018.


Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.