- Posted by Johanna on March 25, 2009 at 1:38 pm
- Category: Indy Comic Reviews
- PUBLISHER: Boom! Kids
The Incredibles #1
As you’d expect from writer Mark Waid, The Incredibles #1 is everything it should be: a solid superhero adventure mixed with everyday humor.
First, the family team fights Futur10n, a robot villain who turns zoo animals into dinosaurs, leading to many dynamite, imagination-provoking visuals from artist Marcio Takara. Who can resist winged gorillas? Even scarier primitive tigers? An elephant with a brontosaurus head at the end of its trunk? The reader shares son Dash’s reaction: “Cooooooool.”
The characters are faithful to the movie, except that they’re not as fully three-dimensional. Instead of appearing as models, they look like typical 2-D drawn superheroes. I was a bit sad to see the guys get to jump into action while Violet and Mom work out the babysitting. I’m reminded of a former editor who said that this kind of problem is exactly why you don’t give heroes young kids, but I love Jack-Jack too much to wish him gone. It’s a shame that he gets very little screen time this issue.
I was also going to complain about being disappointed to see the typical “guys take the lead in fighting, girls hang back and protect the bystanders” plotting found in so many superhero comics, but then I read more closely and realized the women are the ones who save the day by hoisting the villain on his own petard, so to speak.
After that challenge is conquered, we see some quiet time at home during a barbecue with the neighbors, where everyone falls into familiar nuclear family roles. There is a bigger conflict, as well: Dad is feeling his age and worried about losing his authority as his kids grow up. This is the first piece of a four-issue miniseries, which lends promise to the idea that there will be a satisfying conclusion. This is exactly the kind of fun adventure read you want to share with your kids, although I suspect that maturing adults will relate more to the cliff-hanger.
The Muppet Show #1
Entertaining as that was, The Muppet Show #1 by Roger Langridge is even better. There are plenty of superhero stories, but this kind of hilarious comedy is rare in comics. (Many licensed titles are so safe that they’re boring.) Everything that fans remember is here, from the theater setting and recognizable background cameos to a Gonzo horn gag as part of the opening and Statler and Waldorf’s heckling.
The structure is familiar, but instead of scene cutaways, we get page turns to punctuate the short bits of humor. The pages mostly follow simple grid structures, easy to read and with plenty of room for the dialogue. The visuals are key, too, and impressively well-done. Langridge draws the characters beautifully like themselves. They’re fully realized, but they still resemble puppets. Rowlf even looks fluffy.
The jokes don’t talk down to the reader, and they’re layered for even funnier reactions. I’m highly impressed that they managed to do the Swedish Chef on paper. The sketches are oddly twisted in some ways, just like the original, plus there’s an ongoing storyline about Kermit pondering what home means. In short, I loved it! It’s also a very packed, rewarding read, providing a great value. You’ll find more to laugh at or think about every time you re-read it.
A Caveat: Variant Covers
I do wish that they didn’t do so many variant covers for these books. (I actually wish that they didn’t do any.) The Incredibles has four (which connect together to make a bigger team picture) plus a limited edition variant. The Muppet Show has two, plus two retailer photo covers at higher prices. Why encourage kids to chase the different pictures, especially at $3 or more a pop? I know Boom! has said that they intend to hold the line on pricing, and $3 is below the now-becoming-standard $4 for many superhero titles, but that’s still a lot of money for a 24-page story.
Update: Both issues have now sold out at the distributor level, although some stores may still have them available. Reprints (with yet more cover variants, so you can tell the first from the second printings) will be available in stores at the end of April.