The comic adaptation of the defunct tabloid newspaper has finally arrived and it’s as irreverent and insane as the paper that inspired it, but it also doesn’t hold together as a comic. Chris Ryall does his best to pull together the disparate threads of various recurring elements of the paper into a cohesive, compelling story, but it never happens. Instead, what we get is an odd jumbling of not-quite-funny satire and a central story that is lacking because the main character isn’t anything more than an easy stereotype of the angry conservative paranoid.
Ed Anger is a “right-minded columnist for the ‘Weekly World News'” in a world where Bat Boy and aliens exist and are accepted, if not lauded, members of American society. He’s the stereotypical white male conservative that’s paranoid about reds and gays and democrats and illegal aliens and every other sort of ill that has befallen America, threatening constantly to destroy the country that he loves — if that hasn’t happened already. He’s a one-note joke that gets old after two pages. His encounters with a psychic alien on TV to discuss politics are awful as neither displays anything beyond the most superficial of qualities.
There is little plot to speak of here, relying on a string of appearances by Bat Boy or the alien or jokes about Dick Cheney shooting people in the face while hunting. The comic doesn’t know what it wants to be: is it a bunch of jokes with a plot connecting them or is it a story that happens to be funny? Because it’s not successful as either. The jokes aren’t funny and the plot is barely there.
Alan Robinson’s art is attractive and obviously influenced by Art Adams, using similar figures and compositions. His line work is rough, but that works with the unhinged nature of the story and world. He is very good at exaggerated expressions and body language, but is still undeveloped in layouts since they are haphazard here. Robinson shows a lot of promise in this issue.
If you try to take “Weekly World News” #1 on its own terms, it doesn’t succeed as it doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. By tying together various elements of the tabloid paper, it lacks a central story and reads like a comic version of stupid comedies like “Date Movie” or “Epic Movie” where the point is to cram in as many parody jokes as possible, screw the story or… well, the jokes. It’s disappointing because Ryall has shown that he can write weird, funny comics in the past and this isn’t up to those standards. Though, the offering of two versions (color or black and white newsprint) and the additional backmatter material do help.