Toy Story #1-2

I was surprised when the first issue (#0) of this new series ended on a cliffhanger — now I’m even more surprised that, after two more issues, the story still isn’t over. I hadn’t realized that the creators were aiming for something a bit more meaningful than your usual kids’ comic.

It doesn’t feel padded, because it’s a powerful, emotional story, as another Buzz Lightyear figure tries to replace the original one. As the first issue opens, true Buzz has been returned to the toy store, so the gang has to kidnap fake Buzz and all get back to the store.

New character Booster, an alien Space Ranger sidekick for Buzz, is the typical large, scary-looking fraidy cat type, which makes for approachable humor. Older readers will have seen the comedy routine before, but there was enough fresh paint (using mindworms to match the space theme) to keep it entertaining.

There were some jokes that I didn’t care for, though, because they were based on stereotypes I don’t want to teach kids. For instance, strongman Rocky’s putdown of those not as macho as him, “girly toy!”, reinforces the idea that only boys can be adventurous. On the other hand, Hamm’s gag about overly cautious toy makers made me laugh.

This will all make a great read in the eventual collection, when the story’s all in one place. It’s full of colorful action. The characters look like they should; Nathan Watson does a great job keeping them on model while still having them move and react. And Jesse Blaze Snider puts plenty of inspiring imagination on display, as when the gang of toys figures out how to steal a car. The cliffhangers are well-chosen, with just the right “oh, no, what happens next?!?” moment.

Issue #2 starts with the gang facing, as the story so far has it, “an entire aisle of angry Buzz Lightyear variants”. It’s amusing satire of the toy industry; more impressively, the writer later circles back around to the concept to add an emotional punch to another character’s motivation. The different Buzzes also allow for appropriate fighting partners: Woody faces off with space cowboy Buzz, while Rex has to cope with caveman Buzz (while questioning, as the reader might, the whole concept). Funny and exciting both.

My favorite bit, though … with the last Toy Story comic collection, I asked for more green army men, and here I got my wish in a surprise I won’t spoil. Last issue promises to conclude the storyline, after one more action-packed sequence for the Buzzes to complete. This series is one of today’s best kids’ comics out there.

6 Responses to “Toy Story #1-2”

  1. Anthony Says:

    Booster was a character on the early 2000s “Buzz Lightyear of Star Command” cartoon that was produced, about the adventures of the “real” Buzz Lightyear the toy-Buzz (in Toy Story’s world) was based on. Nice to see somebody at Boom remembers the cartoon, though I liked XR the robot or Mira Nova (a female Ranger with intangibility powers a la Kitty Pride of the X-Men) better.

  2. Johanna Says:

    Neat! I get the impression that the folks working on this title really know their stuff and have done their research.

  3. Dave Says:

    I don’t know. From the idea of Buzz being replaced and put back in the box, this sounds a lot like the Toy Sory 2 movie.

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