One Punch Reviews #53: Awesome Hospital
Chris Sims is one of the top writers at Comics Alliance. His style is enthusiastic, winsome, and often adorable. He’s referred to as the Batmanologist, since he’s many pertinent questions about the Caped Crusader, such as, “If Batman dies, which two superheroes would Batman select as dads for Robin?” He’s also probably a Punisherologist, since he unabashedly admits that he’s read every single Punisher comic published, including that one where he rented out a jet ski.
Along with writer Chad Bowers, artist Matt Digges, and letter Josh Krach, Mr. Sims also co-writes a webcomic entitled Awesome Hospital. It stars a doctor who is also a guy who rides a dirtbike. That’s right: the whole “doctor who is also something much cooler in the eyes of an excitable 7-year-old boy” pioneered by Dr. McNinja is now officially a genre (subset of General Category: Manchild Webcomics).
The characters of Awesome Hospital all have “awesome” alter egos. There’s the aforementioned Dr. Dirtbike, who we first see cutting an incision while doing a 360 forward flip. There’s his girlfriend, Dr. Robot, who is a frightening machine person and also, somehow, pregnant. There’s a baby who is also a time-traveler, a guitar solo enthusiast, and a bulldog on a skateboard. There’s even a Dr. Luchador, whose presence I would normally laud except he’s hardly in the comic. And the Chief of Staff is Santa.
Hmmm. My diagnosis is “too much sugar.”
Their mission is to treat medical conditions that are too fantastic for other hospitals. Patients zapped by a death ray, for example.
The webcomic starts out as a parody of General Hospital/Dr. House with all its melodramatic twists and turns that, in the old days, would’ve been accompanied with an ominous organ sting. Dr. Dirtbike’s boss … is his crazy ex-girlfriend (dwwwoonngggg! Or whatever an organ sound like.) The entire hospital is folded, and team has been reassigned to … Weakass Hospital! (Dwonnngggg!) To stop an epidemic, the team needs Dr. Super-hero … who is depressed and is under the care of the hated Weakass staff! (Dwoonnnngggg!)
Then later the comic decides to go off the deep end with time travel shenanigans. Eventually, our characters take a fateful trip to the dystopian future of Awesome Hospital 2099. Which is, I’m certain, the sort of cross-time capers that Dr. Gregory House wishes he went on.
Strangely, Awesome Hospital is character introductions. Admittedly, there’s something funny about a guy on the Weakass Hospital staff with the name of Dr. New Country. To know about him anything beyond his one-dimensional gimmick, though, would kill the fun … or so it’s assumed. Every character is no more than a walking punchline, and that can be to the comics’ detriment.
I get what Sims and Company are trying to do: they want to retain a goofy atmosphere by making sure that no one takes the comic too seriously, as if every panel were loudly and vehemently declaring, “Dude, lighten up.” But you eventually get tired of all gristle and no meat. Throwing a bunch of silly mix-and-match action figures on screen works for Axe Cop to an extent, but with Awesome Hospital you can’t dismiss the lapses in logic on account of being written by a six-year-old. (At least … I don’t think it is.)
Awesome Hospital can be funny. It lampoons several obscure bastions of geekdom, like the explanatory caption boxes. I liked the parody of the opening scenes from Star Trek V, which comes out of friggin’ nowhere. However, most of the time, Awesome Hospital doesn’t even try to reach for this simple level of cleverness and, instead, opts for throwing anything against the wall and seeing what sticks.
As a result. though, it’s a comic that’s never truly awesome or weakass. Weaksome? Aweass? I’d go with “terminally average.”
Rating: 3 stars (out of 5).