THE LAST WHIZ KIDS STORY: PART 2 (BIG BANG ADVENTURES #17)
Writer: Pedro Angosto
Artists: Jorge Santamaría (penciller)/Juan Moreno (inker)/Ulises Kuroshima (colors)/Adam Pruett (letters)
Publisher: Big Bang Comics
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This comic has it all, my friends.
From a purely visual standpoint, Santamaria is on fire. So many double-pagers intensely dense with detail and movement. His design sense is off the charts. I would be recommending this comic simply for more people to see his art even if the story did not hold up.
Thankfully, the story does hold up. Angosto is brilliant at homaging without copying. Which makes this story resonate, in my opinion, even if one has never read a Whiz Kids story before. There is such a deep sense of history within this story that I can’t even tell what is original to it and what is actually based on earlier extant Big Bang stories. Angosto gives the readers everything we need to know within the comic itself.
The villains and heroes of this story hearken back to ancient Christendom (Robo-Hood/Galahad), Islam (The Old Man of the Mountain/Sword of Allah), Judaism (Lilith), and Norse Mythology (Valkyrie) which is a compelling choice that I loved. Angosto’s choices for “the heroes formerly known as the Whizzards” is a diverse and interesting upgrade for that team. Might I suggest they could be called “The Cavalry”? But I digress…
As with Part 1, this story focuses on Galahad and his journey from sidekick to Knight Watchman to a fully realized adult hero and leader. But along the way he is gut-punched emotionally over and over again. If fire forges the strongest sword, then Galahad will be unbreakable when Part 3 concludes this arc. And I do not say this lightly. Readers should be warned that the assaults and pain that Galahad endures in this story may unsettle sensitive readers as they are bold creative story-telling choices but effective. He is also blessed with the opportunity to step up in a very personal way to try and shepherd the darkness into the light with great potential for the future.
With so much action, Angosto and Santamaria do take the time to slow things down to focus on the personal and emotional journeys that anchor the super-heroics. The Galahad story, of course, but also the Merlin and Robo-Hood arc. Both are essential to the elements that make this story work so well.
Readers familiar with DC comics, and especially familiar with the characters of Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne will hear their echoes within this comic. But I promise you it will not be anything like what you expect and that’s the best part of the whole thing. The story flows perfectly and it surprises throughout.
I’m ready for Part 3!
*I should probably note that this comic is a bit too mature in content and language to be considered an all-ages book. This comic is probably appropriate for, oh, 12 years-old and up. YMMV though.