THIS WEEK: We take a look at a very unique comic, in Gustavo Duarte’s DC Silent Tales #1.
Note: the review below contain spoilers. If you want a quick, spoiler-free buy/pass recommendation on the comics in question, check out the bottom of the article for our final verdicts.
DC Silent Tales #1
Writer: Gustavo Duarte
Artist: Gustavo Duarte
Cover: Gustavo Duarte
Silent comics can be remarkably powerful if done correctly. GI Joe #21 by Larry Hama and Hawkeye #19 by Matt Fraction and David Aja are commonly held up as two of the best issues of those respective series. Silent comics can also just be really fun and a way to really capture comedic timing, like every installment of MAD Magazine’s Spy vs Spy. The latter is what DC Silent Tales #1 brings to the table, with stories that really would feel at home in DC’s humor magazine.
Cartoonist Gustavo Duarte is at the top of his game with this comic, and really captures emotions and pacing extremely well in each individual story. Right from the start, the facial acting of the poor little shopkeeper tasked with selling Harley Quinn a mallet is just top-notch. You can feel his fear as she reaches for her wallet, and his relief when she leaves without incident.
While all the stories were fun, and used this wordless medium to their advantage,I think my two favorites “Bugs” featuring Superman (shocking, I know) and “Mr. Crowley” featuring Zatanna. The idea of an apple worm eating radioactive waste from Superman’s cape to grow to immense sizes, is just an incredibly funny idea to me, and Duarte illustrated the quick action sequences of the comic with superb dynamism.
In “Mr. Crowley” I loved the slow escalation of Zee’s attempts to feed her adorable new pet rabbit. Ripping holes in reality to gather carrots from different sources, only for him to learn that that’s just where carrots come from and following her through a portal to hell? Extremely clever. The purple hell carrot was also a fantastic touch.
The weakest story of the bunch for me was the Lobo story, “Suckers!” Lobo’s never been a favorite character of mine, and really this short kinda epitomized what I don’t find alluring about the character. It lacked humor and was oversaturated with hyper-violence. The only real redeeming part is it was hyper-violence against Nazi vampires.
There’s not really a lot more to say about a wordless comic like this, other than that I had fun reading it, and would love to see Duarte to get to do more of these on occassion.
- Superman #3 continues the hot pace that the new title started. It remains a fantastic first dip into the character, with enough to hook new fans and keep existing fans smiling all day long. I really look forward to the next issue with Silver Banshee.
- I didn’t expect Blaze to show up in Nightwing this week. Being a Triangle Era Superman stan, it’s always nice to see forgotten characters from that era pop up every now and again.
- I really like the premise behind Superboy: Man of Tomorrow. It makes sense to have a book that’s about Kon trying to find his place in a world that moved on without him.
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As it’s even stated in the article, silent comics are far from unique occurrences, though.
I could probably be coming up with a two-digit number of examples off the top of my head…
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