Welcome To Weirdsdale!

Nip, tuck, and clench your butt as the Smeet family takes you on a roller coaster ride through the highly unorthodox new cosmetic surgeries going down at the Weirdsdale Country Club and Spa. The issue begins routinely enough with an out of service soldier who just wants to be left alone, until the government comes knocking on his door asking for a favor with an extremely nice payday to boot.

From there the comic takes a right turn into, well, Weirdsdale as we switch characters and focus on Inspector Marla Galloway who’s looking for her twin sister. Last known whereabouts the town’s club and spa. The Smeets’ are really good at building atmosphere for the uniqueness that the spa hides within its wall. The people there are of not just any shape and size, but other-humanly shape and size.

Disproportionate faces, eyes, mouths, heads, bodies, you name it. And it’s all there mix-matched onto these people like they were melted into playdough and then reassembled from “memory.” It’s all very odd and incredibly pertinent to the story at hand. All of these people have gone through the same surgery that Alice did, and even in their slight grotesqueness have been deemed “successes” and are living happily in their new shapes.

To us readers their features could be seen as dehumanizing (and surely my comments before can be taken as such), they’re literally caricatures of human beings, but in this world while Marla – a normal looking person by our standards- questions the need for the surgeries at all, she never once questions the people’s looks. Or why they chose to have them. She gets in, tries to find her sister, and not get caught.

It’s refreshing to see. While it is weird, it’s not wrong.

What’s wrong is whatever is going on with Alice.

Weirdsdale #1 is a fun setup of a first issue to the story to come. Giving us our main characters and giving us a bit of context for the mystery to be solved, while establishing an interesting new world to set foot in. It does what a good first issue should do. My only real gripes with the story is the butt jokes. I didn’t find them that funny truthfully, but I believe they just weren’t delivered properly within the context of the story itself. As well as the beginning narration. It felt out of place for being only the first three pages and then never returning in the rest of the story.

On the art side of things, I enjoy Bob Smeets’ more sketchy style and his ability to make the caricatures look so out of place within normal society while also making their day-to-day lives feel normal. And there is a nice kinetic flow to the action when it happens. The colors are also very vibrant and I enjoy seeing the uncleaned and inked sketch marks in his final pages. It adds some dynamic visuals to the pages.

There were some panels in the early pages where it was hard to figure out the order of things. A guy throws up on a tennis court and collapses. And in the span of 4 panels you sees him go from not anywhere near the net that divides the two sides of the court, to being tangled in it, to be nowhere near it, to then being tangled in it. And then there is another couple of panels where Marla is talking to a host and one moment he’s standing in front of her and the next he’s standing in front of someone else while also replying to her and it really takes you out of the book.

I enjoyed Weirdsdale #1 and I like the mystery and the sort of lo-fi sci-fi feel going down in this book. I’m excited to see where the story goes from here.

Final Score: Recommended.


WEIRDSDALE #1
Caliber Comics
Written by: Mike Smeets
llustrated by: Bob Smeets
Edited by: Andrea L Molinari
Reviewed by: Derrick Crow

Summary: Alice Galloway goes missing after spending her life savings on a ground breaking but controversial cosmetic surgery. When her twin sister, Inspector Marla Galloway, shows up at the Weirdsdale Country Club and Spa looking for answers, Spa officials are already in cover up mode.

What should have been a routine butt tuck somehow went horribly wrong. Alice now floats near death, in an induced, gel-like state, called liquification.

With program funding in jeopardy and Alice’s life hanging in the balance, the last thing officials need is a rogue RCMP inspector snooping around.

This would not be the first time Marla saved her sister’s ass, but would it be the last?


WEIRDSDALE #2
Caliber Comics
Written by Mike Smeets
llustrated by Bob Smeets
Edited by Andrea L Molinari
Reviewed by Derrick Crow

Summary: Alice Galloway goes missing after spending her life savings on a ground breaking but controversial cosmetic surgery. When her twin sister, Inspector Marla Galloway, shows up at the Weirdsdale Country Club and Spa looking for answers, Spa officials are already in cover up mode.

What should have been a routine butt tuck somehow went horribly wrong. Alice now floats near death, in an induced, gel-like state, called liquification.

With program funding in jeopardy and Alice’s life hanging in the balance, the last thing officials need is a rogue RCMP inspector snooping around.

This would not be the first time Marla saved her sister’s ass, but would it be the last?

[SPOILERS!!]

Review: While most of the issues that were present in the previous issue are still here – the stilted sexual humor on the writing side, as well as a few panels on the art side that don’t completely match up – this second issue continues to drive an intriguing and fun mystery that has me wanting to know what happens next.

In other words, it does what any good second issue does. It opens of the world of Weirdsdale a bit more and keeps the momentum of the narrative going in a fun and interesting way. Issue #2 focuses on Inspector Marla, still looking for her sister, and Sheriff Bonk (great name) first taking a trip to the mayor’s office, and then teaming up to continue the search for her sister,

Sheriff Bonk is a man who seems to have gone through the very same Weirdsdale Spa treatment as everyone else in Weirdsdale, but he does seem legit decent as well. Think Sheriff Hopper in Stranger Things, but with a bigger head and one eye. I hope he gets to help be a hero in this story as I honestly would love that.

Carl Martin, the guy last seen in the opening three pages of the first issue, finally makes his way into the main story as he invades Marla’s apartment and demands she lets him talk to her while she rightfully attempts to subdue him after breaking and entering into her place. His narration also makes a comeback this issue, but only for the first few pages.

I’m intrigued to know what’s going on with him as he doesn’t seem to be against Marla.

Finally Marla gets a big action scene of her own at the end of the issue when she commandeers Sheriff Bonk’s jeep in order to chase down a guy who’s tried to help her in the past with finding her sister. It’s a pretty neat chase sequence although there is one panel where she’s driving through some bushes but a lack of speed lines makes it look like she’s parked in the bushes instead and I completely got taken out of the story for a second.

I still enjoy the unfinished sort of sketchy looking nature of the comic, with whole parts of empty panels layered onto the finished page and ink spots resting in the middle of panels in a very experimental, anti-mainstream fashion. It’s kinda cool if I’m being honest.

Weirdsdale #2 is a solid addition and I’m excited to see what happens next.

Final Score: Recommended


WEIRDSDALE #3
Caliber Comics
Written by Mike Smeets
llustrated by Bob Smeets
Edited by Andrea L Molinari
Reviewed by Derrick Crow

Summary: Alice Galloway goes missing after spending her life savings on a ground breaking but controversial cosmetic surgery. When her twin sister, Inspector Marla Galloway, shows up at the Weirdsdale Country Club and Spa looking for answers, Spa officials are already in cover up mode.

What should have been a routine butt tuck somehow went horribly wrong. Alice now floats near death, in an induced, gel-like state, called liquification.

With program funding in jeopardy and Alice’s life hanging in the balance, the last thing officials need is a rogue RCMP inspector snooping around.

This would not be the first time Marla saved her sister’s ass, but would it be the last?

[SPOILERS!!]

Review: Issue #3 is the episode where the mystery really begins to take off as we begin to see more revelations unravel before our eyes. It’s a solid entry as the characters scatter and begin their individual assaults on the Weirdsdale Spa in order to finally bring this nightmare they’ve found themselves in to an end.

This is probably the strongest entry yet with tighter dialogue and fewer issues in it.

I enjoy how anytime the Weirdsdale inhabitants are setup against characters who still have that air of normalcy to their appearance no one, not a single one, brings up their caricature enhancements as a negative or the butt of a joke. They’re still very normal people, and the practice itself isn’t necessarily frowned upon. It’s all just connected to a conspiracy that runs deep into the bowels of the government.

Whatever the ultimate goal is of the Spa, I’m excited to find out.

Marla has a great dynamic with Grunt, the janitor. Carl Martin plays well off of Sheriff Bonk. These are fun teams to watch. And they begin to culminate with Grunt showing Marla what’s going on with her sister, a cruel and gruesome measure being brought on by the Spa’s incredibly experimental new procedure, while Martin and Bonk find out that one of the Spa’s biggest donors is someone close to Martin whom he had thought he lost forever.

The art continues to make a bold statement, I wish there were times it could feel a bit more energizing, but I genuinely like Bob Smeets’ style and the more I read it the cooler it gets. If a caricature artist were to draw a comic in their style this is probably what it would look like. Also one of the characters looks like a caricaturized David Hasselhoff from the 80s which I think is funny.

I’m very intrigued to see where the story ends up. And I’m finding Weirdsdale is a nice little treasure of a comic that deserves to be read and enjoyed.

Final Score: Recommended


WEIRDSDALE #4
Caliber Comics
Written by Mike Smeets
llustrated by Bob Smeets
Edited by Andrea L Molinari
Reviewed by Derrick Crow

Summary: Alice Galloway goes missing after spending her life savings on a ground breaking but controversial cosmetic surgery. When her twin sister, Inspector Marla Galloway, shows up at the Weirdsdale Country Club and Spa looking for answers, Spa officials are already in cover up mode.

What should have been a routine butt tuck somehow went horribly wrong. Alice now floats near death, in an induced, gel-like state, called liquification.

With program funding in jeopardy and Alice’s life hanging in the balance, the last thing officials need is a rogue RCMP inspector snooping around.

This would not be the first time Marla saved her sister’s ass, but would it be the last?

[SPOILERS!!]

Review: The final issue! Honestly, not at all how I expected things to play out and I kind of love the way everything wrapped up. In someways this was more of a season 0 to a story more-so than a season 1, as it sets up what could be a grander story to come with even cooler magical realism.

The story that the Smeets set out to tell isn’t completely groundbreaking in the story elements they choose to present, with cliché narration, impossible personal ties each character has to make the story feel more intimate, action sequences taken right out of any action film with some of the dialogue to boot.

However, the story the Smeets do tell under all of that, the actual heart of the story, is incredibly unique with truly interesting and cool visuals showcasing the caricature Weirdsdale inhabitants alongside “normal” folk that look like you and me. A story where a Spa is a front for a powerfully new experimental cosmetic surgery that is taken to a grotesque extreme. And an ending that takes the main characters and makes them the most powerful characters in the story as science goes both very wrong and very right all at the same time, allowing them to wipe out the very town that gave them so much grief.

Although, while I make Weirdsdale to seem fun and frenetic, which it is, there’s a lot of heart in this story about two sisters who are separated for the duration of the series only to become, well, inseparable by the end in a literal way. And while that sounds like a happy ending, like Carl Martin says “endings are not always happy,” and I respect the Smeets for giving this story more of a bittersweet ending rather than a nice little bow to wrap itself up in.

The bad guys get away. A whole town is wiped out with many casualties, and the Galloway sisters are trapped in an ether like state that one hopes they can either get out of, or learn to control. I’m all for this series introducing cool elemental super powers. There is still more story left in Weirdsdale. The town may be gone, but the monsters are not and someone needs to bring them to justice. I look forward to that day. And if it doesn’t come, I’m personally satisfied with where this story ends.

The art in this issue is at its most kinetic. A lot of what issues I had in past installments are almost completely gone in this final outing. The pages look great, they still have that chaotic panel grid look to them, the colors are so fresh seeming, and the characters are at their best in each frame. Bob Smeets really pulled out all the stops for the finale. I felt like I was watching a lighter version of Stranger Things meets Kyle XY with his style. Also that’s kind of a cool way to describe to someone what Weirdsdale is really like.

I look forward to Weirdsdale vol. 2, if it may come, and the future fate of the Galloway twins.

Final Score: Highly Recommended

Editor’s Note: Interested in checking out this wild read for yourself? Then head right here to grab up some Weirdsdale!

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