Six Pack and Dogwelder #1 Review

Written by: Garth Ennis

Art by: Russ Braun

Publisher: DC

While I am currently loving the current state of DC thanks to Rebirth, I definitely miss some of the short lived DC You series that really promoted new styles and voices. Thankfully for me, somebody at the company does too, as a good amount are returning as mini-series with the original teams involved. It’s a big step towards showing their continued support for more creator driven mainstream books, though unfortunately, this Section Eight reunion is a bit of a misfire.

Ennis is a writer I really have to be in a certain mood for, and having not read DC You’s All-Star Section Eight I went in with an open mind. The comic however did absolutely nothing to really grip me, focusing mostly on weirdly disconnected scenes with humor that attempts to be “on the pulse” but mostly feels cringeworthy. There’s not even really much story to discuss; basically Six-Pack, the drunken leader of Section Eight, wants to get his shit together and bring the team back to stardom, while dogwelder walks about doing nothing that impacts the plot. I’m not even trying to be snarky, there’s just very little that happens until the very end, which would spoil the entire point of reading it.

I’ve reviewed a few comedy comics this year, and talked about what those comics did right whereas others have failed. Six-Pack and Dogwelder feels like it took all those points and decided to do the opposite, doing pretty much everything wrong with comedy comics. While not as totally cringe worthy as some other deadpool-esque “lol so random” books, there’s a lot of badly done “edgy” humor that feels like it’d only be funny to people who feel like “people are too easily offended!” There are admittedly a few clever jokes that gave me a good chuckle (or at least made me breath more air out of my nostrils than usual). Six-Pack being inspired to become a better hero by reading a copy of the bronze age Green Lantern/Green Arrow series for example and then yelling “Rashism is bad- an superheroes are the ansher!” did feel funny, as it draws on DC history to deliver a reasonably clever joke. There are even a few visual jokes by artist Russ Braun that I didn’t notice on my first reading that are a nice touch. Extended scenes such as some popular DC heroines doing a Loose Women style roasting of Guts’ husband though feel painfully unfunny, and written by someone who’s never actually talked to a real woman.Even worse, Starfire just quotes Lovecraft for the entire scene, which, while receiving some kind of pay off, just feels weirdly out of place and not at all funny. The cherry on top is when the three women leave and catwoman suggests she’ll “order an uber”. It doesn’t make any sense since two of the characters present fly, but you’ve got to force in that topical humor somehow. It sacrifices character for basic “fill in the blanks” style humor typical of a Family Guy episode. It’s painful and made me loose interest repeatedly while reading.

Braun’s art really does most of the heavy lifting here to give the book some kind of charm, his style really suits the ugly character designs (ugly in a good way) and bring out a lot of their personalities. The team are meant to make you feel gross and uncomfortable, and I certainly felt that as soon as an overweight, unshowered man in a speedo and trenchcoat burst onto the scene. There’s not really much else I can think of to say really, the script is so unspectacular it doesn’t really give Braun a chance to show off his versatility, but if future issue’s get more interesting, his art could certainly be great.

Overall, I really can’t recommend Six-Pack and Dogwelder. Ennis is really an acquired taste, but I couldn’t really see a book this tasteless and unfunny really appealing to anyone. I’m not trying to be a prude or spoil sport, I do like some crass humor (just check out my reviews for The Fix for example)  but there’s really nothing here that’s new or clever. I’d advise even Ennis fans to steer clear, this definitely isn’t one I’d advise anyone to buy.