By Dustin Cabeal
After reading Patrick’s review for the first issue, my interest was certainly piqued. I used to read a lot of titles from Charles Soule, but his big two stuff hasn’t interested me in the least bit. His return to Image and teaming with Ryan Browne got my attention.
I expected this series to be a laugh riot for some reason. Perhaps it was Browne’s creator-owned series God Hates Astronauts that made me think this or maybe it was the Koala on the cover. Either way, it is not a laugh riot. I don’t know what it is because it has serious moments and others that do attempt humor.
The series is about a dude that goes by the name of Wizord, who was sent to save his magical shithole by destroying our earth. He discovers that life and freedom is pretty fucking rad and decides to stay and perform magic instead of destroying everything. This, of course, pisses off his former master who in a very Saturday morning cartoon way can watch him on the magic TV 24/7. There’s a lot of follow up and exposition in this issue. Nothing that happens here will make sense if you don’t read the first issue and so in that way, it doesn’t stand on its own. It's relying on you as the reader to bring those warm fuzzy feels over to this issue and whether it succeeds or not is really on you.
The writing is decent. There’s exposition, but we’re dealing with a complex idea, and so I can understand that to a degree. It goes a little overboard at times, and that’s when I found myself a bored or waiting for something more than dialogue to happen.
What I don’t understand about the writing is the humor or attempts at it. Curse Words reads very seriously. Wizord pours out his heart at one point, and even though he follows it by doing something fucked up, it makes sense and grows him as a character. His character growth is tremendous; it’s just the rest of it that is wonky. The humor isn’t that funny, and while it works, it’s a strange fit. The story could easily be 100% serious and be a better story for it. Instead, you have things like a talking Koala and a sight gag for a cliffhanger. I wanted to laugh, but the jokes were so safe and inoffensive that it read more like dad jokes and less like a story about a wizard discovering the modern world for the first time. Hell, it's one step away from making a joke about what hot dogs are made out of or a phone joke.
Browne’s artwork distracts from the weak parts of the story. He’s become a wonderful artist over the years and only seems to get better and better. I could look at this book all day. Even the sight gag at the end was wonderful, but just because it’s good, it didn’t distract me enough from the fact that it’s a one-page spread and feels a bit like a waste.
I’ll likely give this series one more issue. It was a decent read. I was entertained, but not enough to look past its flaws which is a shame considering how close to great it is. If a couple of changes were made to this issue I might be writing an entirely different review, but what’s there is what’s there, and this is where my review stands.
Curse Words #2
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Ryan Browne
Publisher: Image Comics