Link to today’s post.
I don’t know why, but it still amazes me how Batiuk will spend an entire week on boring, inconsequential stuff like Adeela and Wally sitting in a library, and then just completely skip over what a character who’s been missing for years like Rana has been doing with an “. . . and so”. I mean, what led up to that sentence? “I was disgusted by the decadence of western civilization, and so . . .”. “I’ve been spending a lot of time on ISIS message boards, and so . . .”. “I found out the actor who played Moon Mile Meek was a Muslim, and so . . .”.
I like how casual Batiuk depicts personal religious conversation and completely changing your worldview and lifestyle. He makes it sound like how you choose your sports team. ” . . . And so I became a Patriots fan. After all, it was the team of my family.”. I don’t really think this is how people work, usually. “Well, I was adopted as a baby and don’t really have any memories of my birth family, but I’m assuming they were Muslim, so I’ll become Muslim too.”.
Oh, yeah, and apparently Wally has zero idea what’s going on in his daughter’s life, which is just amazing. Although not at all remarkable.
Link to Today’s Strip
“Yeah, believe it or not, things used to happen in my life, back in the day! Now what passes for excitement in my life is the exciting tale of ‘Sitting a Table Away From A Muslim Woman!’. Also, notice how I emphasized that she’s my adopted daughter, and not my real or ‘bio’ daughter. In case you were wondering how a normal average American like me could have such a foreign looking daughter. But yeah, we adopted her and that was pretty much the end of me taking an interest in her life, obviously.”
Wouldn’t you think this had already come up between Wally and Adeela? Like, at the very least that he’d worked for an NGO in Afghanistan, and not just been there as a soldier? I mean, I think she’d be interested to know that a member of Wally’s family was literally from her country.
You know Wally honestly used to be one of the characters in this strip I halfway liked, if only because he actually grew and developed through dealing with his PTSD and getting back into a normal life. And damn if Batiuk hasn’t made him super unlikeable in a really short time. At this rate I bet the next arc is going to reveal how Buddy (who looks like a totally different dog in this strip) is actually a raging anti-Semite.
I suppose today’s strip indicates that Adeela was the mother and not the child in last Sunday’s strip, which makes her fairly close to Wally in age.
No, that wasn’t obvious. Wally has been back in Westview for 9 years now. He was taken hostage in late 2007, BEFORE the time jump*, so he hasn’t patrolled an Afghan street in about two decades (heck, it is still a decade plus if you ignore the time jump). Adeela easily could have been that child and, oy… piecing together this strip’s timeline makes my head hurt. Still, I gotta say that Adeela has aged better than anyone in this strip except for maybe Cindy.
* Back in early Act III when Wally had apparently disappeared from the strip after the 10 year time jump, TB stated in a blog post (the infamous “it’s called writing…” post, in fact) that a “clue” in regards to Wally’s whereabouts appeared in the October 11, 2007 strip, in the immediate aftermath of Lisa’s death and just before the Act II to III time jump. That clue being the newspaper in the newspaper box that Les slumps past before he is pickpocketed by a couple of hipsters. It reads, muddily, “Soldiers Taken Hostage”.
Wally remained a hostage until July 2009…
Adeela finally gets to use the photo album corners in today’s strip. I think so, anyways. Is that her as a child or is that her with the child? Or is that her at all?
Wally was in Afghanistan long enough ago that a young child then would be old enough to go to college now, especially when TB treats his 10 year time jump as that, a time jump, and not just an age jump to make his Act I and II characters older (well… Cindy in mind only, not body). HA! OK, scratch that last part then, the “time jump” has never been more than excuse to age his characters.
Still, the story of a Afghan war veteran and an Afghan refugee struggling to feel comfortable enough around each other to complete a college project could well prove interesting. Now, if only we could find someone to write that story… If only.
Wally goes full-on “Doug Funnie talking to Patty Mayonaise” in today’s strip because… that’s what this story arc requires?
Adeela is not exactly winning Miss Manners’ stamp of approval here either though. She also seems to think she has already introduced herself to Wally (or expected him to eavesdrop when she introduced herself to Professor Forehead, I guess). Is she just not a Three Stooges fan or is she one of those people who prefer Shemp to Curly?
Fair or unfair, the military briefing-college class parallels continue in today’s strip. Wally and Adeela are bad at engaging others in conversation. Professor Forehead makes Ralph from Sally Forth proud by assigning a group project on day one so he doesn’t have to spend any time at all lecturing these students. Buddy may have disappeared… I’m sorry that I am just recapping the strip, but I don’t know what else to say here.
What will happen when Wally and Adeela finally speak to each other (presumably) three and a half weeks from now? The suspense is mildly irritating me.
It is not really fair for me to question the comparison of a military briefing to first day of an unidentified community college class as in today’s strip. While I have my suspicions about how appropriate the comparison is, I have only experienced the latter situation.
I will, however, point out that both Colonel Crew-Cut and Professor Forehead are awkwardly stating what both their audience in the room already know and what newspaper comic strip readers could reasonably infer without such clunky exposition. It is like TB leading off each strip with a drawing of him saying:
The following is a comic strip I wrote. It carries the weight of substantial ideas. Silver Age Flash is also important literature.
Uh, maybe I shouldn’t have thrown that idea out there…