Having been enjoying the daft, gross out, hugely entertaining crossover Madballs vs Garbage Pail Kids recently, I couldn’t wait to check out Garbage Pail Kids: Origins #1.

When a heroic World War II pilot is shot down over enemy territory, his brother – an underachieving soda jerk – vows to take the fight to the enemy. However, Adam Baum is clearly not fit for military duty – but an experimental treatment may just see him in combat and perhaps even being instrumental in the Allies successfully taking on the Axis.

Given how much charm and fun has been wrought from a silly and illogical premise over in Madballs vs Garbage Pail Kids, I thought that Dynamite would have another winner on their hands with Garbage Pail Kids: Origins.

This first issue is truly awful, however – the real world, wartime US setting being particularly jarring. It reads as a satire of Captain America’s origin, but I’m not sure how intentional that was, nor that’s it’s even a logical target for Garbage Pail Kids-led satire.

One thing’s for sure, the writers really loved their jerk joke, which gets rammed into the ground repeatedly. It barely even registers as funny the first time they use it, let alone the tenth.

The actual Garbage Pail Kid transformation is completely bizarre too; though the lack of backstory or explanation works for Madballs vs Garbage Pail Kids, in this origin tale, the attempt to give the characters consistent lore just falls completely flat. It never makes sense as to why the humans would suddenly become doll-shaped, kid-sized mutants and it’s not as if it’s necessarily played for laughs either, which is odd.

It’s a complete tonal misfire; the two pretty established writers and the artist have come up with the story – yes, story is credited to all of them – so it’s baffling to discover just how bad it is.

The saving grace – if there is one – is the art, which suffers the same weird mishmash of styles but does feel like an old fashioned underground comic at times, which suits the material. Garbage Pail Kids should feel somewhat subversive after all.

This weird superhero satire really ain’t it though; setting up a traditional heroes vs villains tale using these eclectic and appealingly disgusting characters just doesn’t work.

It is only the first issue, but on the current evidence I can’t say I’m holding out much hope for the rest of the series. A huge disappointment.

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