Middle Man #1

The Middleman: The Trade Paperback Imperative

To promote their release of the Middle Man trade paperback, Viper Comics has made the first issue downloadable for free.

That’s a great idea. Nothing sells product as well as a free sample, assuming that the product is any good, and this one looks like a good one. The first issue is well-done, with an interesting character with a distinctive voice. Wendy’s a temp who wants to be an artist, and because she’s disinterested in her day job answering phones for a scientific research firm, she’s also unflappable when a tentacled monster escapes. The Middle Man, a dopey good guy, saves the day but threatens to kill her if she says anything about any of it. Soon enough, she becomes part of the organization.

The Middleman: The Trade Paperback Imperative

It’s not original — on her downtime, Wendy plays videogames and makes cracks about how the characters look, jokes that are likely very familiar to this comic’s audience — but it’s executed with skill. The art, by Les McClaine, has the right kind of light-hearted attitude to carry the material, and I appreciate the way he tones his pages to add weight and solidity. Future issues apparently continue using expected conventions of adventure comics, like intelligent monkeys, mafia murders, wrestlers, and martial artists.

It’s interesting enough that I’ll be looking to browse the collection. Issue #1 of the new miniseries is also out and only 99 cents. Writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach, when he’s not doing comics, writes for the TV show Lost.

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