The first two issues of Nightwasp were mostly Airplane-style parody, with every page packed full of jokes, references, and puns of all types. That style of comedy is very difficult to maintain for very long, and it can grow old very quickly. This was the case with Nightwasp, and though it was very funny throughout, it was also pretty hit and miss.
That’s probably why, for Issues #3-4, the joke-a-minute format has been eased up quite a bit. There are still some fun references and a fair amount of puns, but there’s also an actual story arc unfolding, which makes the whole thing more interesting.
Our hero, Nightwasp, a Batman-esque superhero, has been trying to thwart a new supervillain who dresses like a chicken and makes terrible puns about birds. Along the way, though, he manages to alienate his 40-year-old “boy sidekick,” Ferret Lad, as well as his faithful butler. He does, however, get closer to his love interest, a psychiatrist who loves Ward Woodcock (Nightwasp’s secret identity), but hates Nightwasp.
With the deeper story development in these two issues comes deeper character development, as well. For the most part, this is a good thing, but it does reveal one glaring flaw: Nightwasp is not an even remotely likeable character. It’s evident that this is a deliberate choice on the part of the creators, but still, it makes it difficult to engage with the story at times. Nightwasp’s crimefighting is founded on an unflinching set of principles, which drive everything he does. This would be great, except that these principles seem kind of arbitrary, and his refusal to do things any way but his way ends up shooting him in the foot rather than helping him. It also, at times, makes us, the readers, wonder why we should be rooting for him to succeed in the first place.
Even so, though, this is an interesting and entertaining comic all around, and the increased depth and development help the story much more than hurting it. Plus, it’s still pretty funny, if a little raunchier than it needs to be. In general, this one is worth checking out.