Ruel de Vera reviews DARNA and WASTED in SUNDAY INQUIRER MAGAZINE'S SUMMER READING ISSUE
"Mars Ravelo's Darna" No. 1 (of 3)
By Boboy Yonzon, Ryan Orosco and Gilbert Monsanto
It is always a pleasure to see Philippine komiks' most treasured icon back in graphic glory. Mango Comics' "Mars Ravelo's Darna" updates the flying heroine just in time for the next century. Ryan Orosco and Gilbert Monsanto's art is amazing and the colors and quality make this debut title a visual feast. Unfortunately, Darna, speaking in English, seems to be rather bland and virtually undistinguishable from various versions of DC Comics' Wonder Woman. While this is the first in a three issue mini-series, readers would probably have enjoyed seeing Darna take on more interesting foes-like the tussle with snake-haired Valentina (welcome back) promised in the next ish. While this does serve as a great starting point for those who have yet to really experience the magic of Darna, surely one can do more with the single most recognizable character in local comics. Still worth a look but here's hoping that "Mars Ravelo's Darna" gets much better.
"Wasted: Final Edition"
By Gerry Alanguilan
One of Philippine comicdom's true treasures has finally returned. This affordable new edition collects the eight issues of Alanguilan's seminal series of mini-comics, first available in 1994. Almost a decade hence, Alanguilan's cathartic epic of heartbreak, with its grim humor, hot-button issues and starkly compelling black-and-white art, vibrates with an irresistible, violent truth despite the years since its first release. The reason for the "mature readers" tag isn't just the 15 or so fatalities-it's the dark heart of the series itself, one that we just might recognize in ourselves. And that is bloody genius in itself. "Wasted: Final Edition" lets us go home, thankfully alive but changed forever.