And Merry Platypus to you all!
(And before any of you starts complaining about how wrong that looks, that same banner -or one that looked a lot like it, cause we made this one- actually appeared on the show: http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/zimwiki/images/6/62/Irken_Xmas.png/revision/latest?cb=20121029024159).
jueves, 24 de diciembre de 2015
sábado, 19 de diciembre de 2015
Last time we had an entire issue dedicated to the Almighty Tallest -which was as unexpected as it was overdue- and now we are basically staring at a cover which has Gaz on the limelight. Not gonna lie, I totally support the idea of seeing more of her, since only a couple of episodes on the cartoon had her on the starring role -and neither of them was all that memorable to begin with-. But before we jump right into the story, I feel like pointing out that that cover looks totally awesome, despite us having no clue about what happened in there -or how is she able to play video-games in a world with no roofs, nor floors, nor electricity... I guess that she's just hardcore enough to steal electricity from somewhere else to power-up her game. I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case-.
Dib doesn't seem as relaxed, though.
It all beings with Recap Kid making fun of the fact that neither of them should have survived the third issue, but quickly adding that he doesn't know anymore. You know? I really like it when that kind of comments are made by people actually on the comic, but what I TRULY like is NOT having him being shot down by an Irken ship, mid-sentence! For a second there, I thought that it was going to become some sort of nasty running joke (not exactly a big fan of rendering characters useless for the sake of comedy).
We then cut to Gaz's room, where she's playing an online video-game while wearing some sort of Virtual Reality equipment and chatting with her teammates. It all sounds very serious and she looks actually excited about the whole deal... that until Dib shows up running and yelling nonsense about a breakthrough that he's done somewhere; to which she replies in a very dry, furious way: "I'm busy and you know what I always say: break my immersion...", "and you break my face, I know" finishes an annoyed Dib... but he doesn't seem to have properly understood the seriousness behind the threat, since he then asks her to "pause her little game and come see what he's found". She's still surprisingly tolerant toward his annoyance, just telling him to shut up and even trying to explain the importance of the game to him, proudly saying that her clan is going to be the first to slay Queen Blotchulax -which sounds like one hell of an achievement-, but Dib just wouldn't listen and, in an act of sheer stupidity, just turns off her console, making her lose all progress (he even has the nerve to tell her that she's not busy anymore and to order her to follow him! I seriously doubt that the atmosphere on the Gargantis Array was breathable now).
Surprisingly, she DOES follow him... and what was all the fuss about? Zim arguing with a freaking squirrel! If Gaz was disturbed before, she's completely mind-broken now. The way she slowly backs out of the room with an absent glare -while Dib keeps on going about "his findings"- is quite hilarious in its misery, though. And it heavily underlines Gaz's mood.
Quite amusingly, the next part takes place inside Dib's room, with a pixelated text floating over his bed and declaring it "The Humble Bundle of Horrors". What can I say? It NAILS the feeling and theme of the comic, as it takes the premise to an almost "Twilight Zone" level.
The next morning, Dib wakes up attracted by the delicious scent of his breakfast and happily goes down stairs to eat it. He doesn't, though, as his dad asks him to go see who's at the door -before there's any actual pounding on it, weirdly-. And when he actually goes to see who's there, the whole thing explodes on his face, revealing three robots standing right outside the demolished frame. One of them declares in an ominous voice that he's been declared an NPC by the Gamerlaw and that "life as he knows is over". Being captured and just about to leave the house, he cries for help and Professor Membrane shows up to solve the situation... maybe. What ACTUALLY happens is that he's wanting to get paid for having reported Dib to the authorities (quite a bit of money by the looks of things!). When the shocked kid asks for an explanation, he simply tells him that he had to because they threatened to take away his cooking robot if he didn't give him up. Far more shocked than before, Dib asks how could he have chosen the robot over him, to which Professor Membrane simply replies by asking if he has ever tasted the robot's poached eggs. Fair enough.
Dib gets taken away by the robots and is paraded around the city, where a mob of gamers scream at him and tell him to go "to the games". Curious and overwhelmed, Dib asks what happened to the world and why is everyone calling him an "En Pee See", to which one of the guards -the one who talked earlier- tells him that he's going on his way to The Console because he's obviously not a gamer. He then introduces himself as "Lord Voxelrot" and says that he rules this world now and then proceeds to explain the concept of an NPC to Dib, which he immediately gets.
Being informed that that's a world for gamers and that people who don't game are to be destroyed, Dib tries to argue that he's a gamer too, and that he plays video games sometimes. When Lord Voxelrot asks him if he means mobile games where you can pay real money to buy trinkets, Dib excitedly tells him that he's currently obsessed with one where you run a fruit stand, and eagerly adds that he just spent five bucks to ripen some bananas... but he doesn't continue, because a visibly annoyed Lord Voxelrot tells him that he makes him sick and that that's a world for REAL gamers.
Voxelrot was definitely going to say a lot more, but all conversation is silenced at the sight of "The Console", a very impressive, advanced-looking structure that dominates the area. Not wasting any time, Voxelrot asks two of his minions to "prepare The Console for one more"; and then turns to face Dib again, stating that "his kind has plagued him since the start, judging him and not understanding the heart -or hearts, depending on the game- of a true gamer". He then adds that he's been saved for last, because he has been the worst offender of them all. The punishment that he's going to get for his crimes against "Game-Manity" (or "Gamanity", or "Hume-Gamity") is to play random games endlessly, being controlled by various gamers who might just suck at them, making him suffer the most horrifying deaths. Honestly, as far as ironic, over the top punishments go, this one is not all that bad, since it would only take a skilled gamer to remove all the pain from Dib's experience... but the chances of that ever happening are obviously very little.
Dib's then dragged all the way to The Console itself, where he's locked inside a tiny chamber (and this of him being locked inside claustrophobic spaces IS starting to become a common occurrence for whatever reason. Man, I do love that) while he tries to argue that he didn't do anything... to which Voxelrot simply replies that "that anything is gaming, which he didn't do". He then encourages Dib to think of The Console as a way to give NPCs as sense of purpose, besides filling up space... but that it is also a hideous prison.
Dib then wakes up in what's -literally- a Minecraft version of his own room. He tries to understand what's going on, but his pondering is interrupted by "blocky zombies" who attack the room in large numbers. He then unsheathes a gigantic diamond sword but asks why he's running TOWARDS the zombies when he's trying to get AWAY from them. No answer is given as he jumps out the window, landing on the street.
There he is ambushed by even more zombies and gets killed by the horde. He then wakes up in The Console where Voxelrot tells him that it wasn't all that bad after all, even though he says that it was the most horrible thing he's ever experienced (which doesn't have any kind of effect on Voxelrot... as he is immune to flattery). He then explains to Dib that he doesn't have any kind of control over his own actions because a gamer, chosen at random, is controlling him remotely, while his own feeling and consciousness remain intact ("I could feel the zombies eating my butt"). Also, there's a robotic boot kicking him in the rear the whole time.
When Dib asks why does he get the special treatment and why couldn't Voxelrot just leave him alone and game without caring about him, the latter just gets mad, explains that he would LOVE not to care about him, but that he takes every chance he has to make him, everyone care about his business -the personal accusation freaks him out- and re-starts The Console. Dib then gets sent directly into another gaming session (far worse than his previous one) and gets disconnected by Voxelrot again, because he wants to make sure that he's having fun. Tired, frightened and overall annoyed, Dib finally snaps and frankly asks Voxelrot how can he do that to him and to all those people.
"How? Happily" -he replies- And, when asked what happened to him to make him do something THAT horrible, he says that HE happened to him, he and his non-gamer kind. Voxelrot then refuses to answer the question about his true identity, saying that he will have Dib hooked to The Console forever, always wondering who he is... just to change his mind mid-sentence and reveal himself to be Gaz (dun-dun-dun!).
After the revelation, Gaz orders one of her minions to disconnect Dib, as he will be joining her for dinner (which he loves, since he haven't had breakfast and is starving). They then go heavy-escorted to "Bloaty's Pizza Hog", Gaz's favorite restaurant (it is nice to see it again after all these years). There they sit at a table, with Dib still tied up and unable to reach the pizza that's sitting right in front of him... and he tries to apologize for whatever he did (he truly has no clue), but Gaz doesn't listen to him, saying that he would say anything to escape right now.
She then gets up from the table, faces the animal band that's playing on the restaurant and says that the bassist is a potato there, while it's a giraffe in their own world's version of the restaurant, and adds that he wouldn't know that, since he doesn't pay attention to anyone's feelings ("but giraffe isn't a feeling!").
What follows is the "angriest flashback ever", where Gaz tells that the moment he unplugged her game, she knew what she had to do; that she knew that it wouldn't be easy but that real justice is never easy (while all of this is happening, Dib keeps trying to get her to throw a slice of pizza at his face, hoping to get something to eat. Man, he really is pushing his luck here). The flashback continues and we see Gaz asking Professor Membrane to build a machine that she could use to kidnap her brother and trap him in a nightmare of virtual horrors. He refuses at first, but decides to go ahead with it for science ("or something").
She then tells that she spent a lot of time looking for the perfect world for her plan, a world where gamers ruled and people who don't understand the glory of gaming were punished for being so lame. She then adds that she finally found the perfect world and that had to get rid of its former game master, saying that in another life, they would have been good friends, but that he was in the way and that there was no other choice. She also says that she had to get rid of their alternate-universe selves as well, because it would have ruined the immersion.
The next thing that happens is that Gaz flat out admits that she has destroyed a lot of realities in order to find the perfect world to use for her plan and that she has left a long trail of mistakes behind her, but that it was all worth it just to make him pay. When Dib tells her that she has gone completely crazy, she simply says that he doesn't know crazy yet, but that he will.
He gets connected to The Console again and is warned that this is going to be his longest session and that this time it won't be a random player controlling him, but their worst, most insane one: GIR (who they call "The Madman")!
Under GIR's command, Dib does all sort of ridiciolus, dangerous stuff (much for the robot's enjoyment): he steps in the middle of a crossfire and throws a grenade inside his own pants, endlessly dance in front of a demmon's destructive path, drives in circles in a go-kart -a la Mario Kart- track while a dangerous trap approaches him, enters and leaves the same portal for an hour, refuses to pay his debts to the animal mafia and tazzes himself for three hours in the middle of a battlefield. But you have to give him credit, since it's only after "ten million games and logic-defying deaths" that he pleads for forgiveness.
And just like that (although, probably because she got bored of this) Gaz accepts the apology and they go home, while Dib tells her that, once he's back from the hospital, they maybe can play some games (which she thinks it's a great idea). One healed butt later, however, Dib wins a round and Gaz throws him thru the wall, accusing him of cheating.
If there's something that I ABSOLUTELY like about these comics, that's the art direction. The drawings are sometimes too simple, but every single one stands out for the right reasons... I mean, look at this screenshot! The angle and backgrounds are fantastic and so is the lighting. I'd love to have that scene hanged on my wall.
That, right there, is the face of a psychopath ready to strike. If only Dib would shut up for a minute and look around...
Like I said, that scene just nails the feeling of the comic.
Running into zombies and throwing ourselves out of windows is how most of us play that game anyway. If Dib was a real gamer, he wouldn't be complaining so much about it... I'm glad that he didn't land on the gigantic sword, though.
Despite how much I liked the idea and some of the jokes, I had a harder time reading this issue than with any of the other installments on the series. I guess that it had a lot to do with the fact that most of the dialogue happened in plain conversations without much substance: the formula "in and out The Console" worked fine the first coupe of times, but then it became an annoyance more than anything else and I found myself really disconnected to the story, only looking forward to see which games were going to be played next.
That said, I gotta admit that when GIR hit the scene, the entire story bounced back from that situation and destroyed the aura of "boredom" that was being cast over it. Too bad that we couldn't see more of him nor of those "ten million games and logic-defying deaths". It would have helped a lot to see at least a couple of them before we were done with the chaos-filled robot.
I will still recommend this issue to anyone wanting to read it, though. It still has enough good moments to be considered worth of bearing the name Invader Zim (despite the fact that Zim was barely in it) and the game scenes were very enjoyable as it is. Just don't set your expectations too high and you will be fine.
Did you know...?
That this is the first issue in which Zim is irrelevant to the plot?
viernes, 18 de diciembre de 2015
Last time we had the perfect example of what this series can do: we went to space, had a great evil plan, one of Zim's best disguises to date, a generous amount of GIR's insanity levels and lots of other stuff. Issue #3 was definitely one of the best ones and a hard act to top. But honestly, I'm confident about this one, since I read somewhere that it's going to involve The Almighty Tallest on the starring role... and that's more than enough to pick interest.
We start by seeing both The Massive and Recap Kid somewhere in the newly christened "Tallest-Purple-Is-Cool" nebula. Here, our frenetic friend tells us that the Almighty Tallest flipped a coin to decide who gets to name the new territory... and that the Armada conquered that place (by blowing everything up, of course) just a few hours ago. He then either gets sucked by the Irken Flagship`or vomits thru a vent... I actually don't know what's supposed to be happening there. Anyway, this is actually the second time that his dialogue gets cut off by an Irken Ship... which I think would be pretty annoying for those who weren't able to buy the previous issue. Oh well.
We then cut to the bridge of The Massive (which also doubles as the location of the Tallest's Elite Snack Reserves), where an Irken engineer named Skrang tells them about his new invention: A portal that can connect to any invader base on the universe and that would allow them to send stuff to their troops on the front. The bored-looking Tallest ask if they can get stuff back from the portal and Skrang quickly tells them that that feature isn't safe to utilize and that could cause half of the universe (their half) to explode if used. The Tallest listen to him, but get promptly distracted by the fact that they don't want the last snack and that the garbage can is "all the way over there", so they ask Skrang to activate the device so they can toss the cheese into one of their bases (Skrang tries to argue that, given the power required to open a wormhole, it wouldn't be prudent to do so, but they just discard the ideas... like always).
Back on Earth -and no, there's no point in asking how or when Zim and the entire planet bounced back from their hellish doom on the Sun-, a proud-looking Zim shows his new invention to GIR: He has invented a "nano-naise" and then claims that the humans will never expect it and that he's a genius. Mere seconds later, the invention breaks and GIR gets the blame (even though he hasn't touch it) but he doesn't mind it as he's entirely distracted by the gigantic wormhole that's been opened in thin air, and then by the enormous cheese snack that lands on Zim's head.
Zim then tracks the origin of the wormhole back to The Massive itself and mistakes the garbage for a gift given to him by The Almighty Tallest. That's definitely the kind of thing that he would do and the fact that they play along, taking advantage of his wrong assumption to physically abuse him is EXACTLY the payoff I was expecting for such a situation.
The Tallest trick him into believe that the dumped snack ("The Munchitronic DeathSkrang") is their most advanced and secret weapon and that he's given the responsibility to guard it with his life. When he asks how to use it and what does it do, they simply tell him that it doesn't do anything because it hasn't been charged... which leads to a simple, yet hilarious scene with Zim naively offering to send the "weapon" back to them so they can charge it. Their desperation about such a proposal is delightful and the fact that they just have to keep inventing stuff just to prevent Zim from trying to send it back is definitely worth a few laughs.
They finally tell him that HE is the one who must charge it and, when they ask him if he's up to the task, he says that he's going to do anything it takes to accomplish the goal, which causes the Tallest to smile and plan all sorts of malicious stuff to inflict on him. I like how Zim has inadvertently given the Tallest a blank check to torture him as much as they want without suspecting a thing. The situation itself is not foreign to him in the slightest, but one has to wonder when is the blindfold going to fall... if ever.
We then cut to a holochamber located inside Zim's base, where GIR is happily playing in a sunny environment with a donut and a mushroom. Zim opens the door and tells him that they have a mission to do, so GIR bids farewell to his "friends", while telling them that he's going to turn them off forever -they scream upon receiving the news... disturbingly-.
Meanwhile, the Tallest have come up with his first "assignment": in order to activate the "weapon", they need him to scan the biosignatures of the humans... which can only be accomplished by smacking them really hard on the face. It is really funny to see that they "break down" mid-sentence and start laughing hysterically at the idea, barely adding that they are only doing it because "this is so serious". Blindfold.
Zim then carries the snack around in a baby stroller, disguised as a baby and starts smacking people on the face with it, claiming after every hit that it hasn't been enough to charge the device. What follows is -most predictably- an angry mob chasing Zim around with pitchforks and torches. When he reports back to the Tallest, they congratulate him for the job and immediately give him another task to do: jumping off the roof of a Mall while riding the snack and wearing a cowboy hat. Zim somehow sustains far more damage from the fall than he did at the hands of the angry mob -even though he was probably able to outrun them at some point-. The insanity and total lack of care for common logic is spot-on in here.
His next job consist on him asking Mrs Bitters -hey, she's back!- to pull a hair from her nose... which results on him taking EVEN MORE damage than with the mob and the fall COMBINED... although, can you really doubt it? That's Mrs Bitters we are talking about. Gives me the shivers.
After that, the Tallest have a little conference and say that it was fun for a while but that Zim could really get hurt if they keep going, so they mutually agree... to never stop. They DO warm him that the next steps are dangerous, though, but Zim doesn't care and heeds their every order (and he might, survive (8)). Future assignments would include to have him get rammed by a plane ("for the glory of the empire!" he shouts, while getting mauled by one of the wings), to get himself immersed in a vat of boiling tuna sauce and to god-knows-what else. While all of this is happening, the Tallest play poker atop of a service drone and discuss what kind of terrible task they have to put him thru this time... Purple asks if they had him swim in radioactive garbage while on fire -which they had- and while Red suggests that they could try to have him swim in radioactive fire while in garbage, Zim calls.
They decide to put up an act, acting all nervous and shouting that "they" are coming for the weapon and that that might be the last he hears from them, ordering him to not call them anymore. Feeling really satisfied at what they had done, they then go shooting lasers at something. Man, if only they knew earlier that it was THAT easy to get rid of Zim -and having a lot of fun while doing so too-...
Back on Earth, a very paranoid Zim records a log for the "future generations who wish to learn from his genius" and then flat out asks GIR if he can trust him or if his circuits have been infiltrated by the enemy, to which he replies by showing a chipmunk on his head -which Zim ejects into space-. Growing madder by the minute, Zim orders the patrol gnomes on his front yard to activate motion-tracking and to shoot everything that moves... not a very lucky combination of orders if you ask me, which gives the obvious result: the gnomes blow themselves up in a massive friendly fire. Then, an even more paranoid Zim orders the computer to lock down the house in the "maximum maximumess" level. He then hears -and obliterates- a bird living in one of the hatches and tells GIR to close every open passage on the entire base.
After all that, he retreats to the "safeness room" on the base, which he deems "not safe enough" and moves onto the "safeness box", which shares the same fate as his previous shelter. Losing all his mind for the sake of protecting the "weapon", Zim digs himself a deep hole in the ground -which he calls "safeness hole"- and writes the words "safe" on a rock that he wears on his head for some reason. He then continues to record the log, but this new attempt at recording for future generations is, once again, abruptly interrupted; this time by the doorbell. Standing on the other side of the door, there's a Girly Ranger -hey, they are back too!- wanting to sell cookies to rise money for her troop. Thinking that it is a ploy to steal the Munchitronic DeathSkrang, Zim grabs the snacks and feeds them to GIR, who then turns into a some-sort of bazooka and blasts them into the distance (landing on a couple who were having picnic). When the Girly Ranger starts pounding the door, wanting to get paid for the cookies that got destroyed, Zim sends GIR outside to get rid of her... but ends up joining her pounding instead -and calling her "grandma"-.
Being driven to the very verge of insanity due to the stress of protecting the Munchitronic and by all the incessant pounding, Zim decides that the only thing left to do to prevent the "device" from falling into enemy hands, is to transport it back to the Tallest's last known coordinates. When he calls them to inform them of this plan, they decide to send the message to voice-mail (really? They had THAT possibility all this time and only NOW have decided to use it? Seriously, dudes!). When the Tallest hear the message, they panic and try to get in contact with Zim, but the portal opens before they could do that (plus, Zim has set his base to "compression defense mode" until the situation is safe).
Right outside the now-compressed base, the Girly Ranger and GIR observe what he has done in shock, while Zim mutters to himself that he's done very well.
We then cut to the Membrane Residence, where a shocked Dib and an uninterested Gaz watch the news about a cookie theft that has compressed his house into a metal cube and they also hear that half of the universe has exploded ("just not our half, whew").
I know that I should be looking at the Vortian brains in the tube, but the sheer size of those snacks is pretty hard to ignore.
Zim's latest invention... it IS kind hard to believe that this was the same guy who was able to summon the Star Donkey and to find the Gargantis Array.
I know that it looks wrong AND awful, but that's actually a very efficient way of getting biosignatures... specially if they catch him.
I would like to insist... if it was that easy to get rid of him, but they hadn't done it until now, they truly deserve all the headaches they got.
Extreme lock-down, but can you blame him? Zim's paranoia is very well justified given the circumstances... or at least what he THINKS is happening.
There's actually a lot to like about this issue, but I think that the extended presence of The Almighty Tallest is what sells it. They are literally everywhere, appearing almost in every page and with quite a bit of dialogue -which is a very rare event if you think about it, almost unheard of-. They are not only heavily featured in the comic, but they also put their time "on screen" to a good use, being responsible for pretty much every joke that works on the story (and inadvertently kicking off some of the others).
The way they treat Zim is not even new, but some of the things that they put him thru certainly are. I mean, you could clearly see that they sent him to Earth to prevent him from messing things up during Operation Impeding Doom II, but they never actually TRIED to blow his cover nor to get him killed -aside from the supposedly endless journey to Earth and whatever was supposed to happen with the Megadoomer- until this very issue. Here, they are actively trying to harm him and that's... cool, actually. The script of the unfinished episode, "The Trial" shows just how much he deserved such treatment and it is interesting to see that it's been delivered at last.
Still, Zim's own paranoia and sense of duty are what makes all these jokes work and I'm glad to see just how far could he take both of those things. If compressing his own base into a metal square doesn't show his commitment with his mission -fake or not-, then nothing would.
So yeah... a lot of good laughs, more of the Almighty Tallest than you could have ever hoped for and tons of paranoia. Definitely check it out.
Did you know...?
That the Tallest have flipped a coin to decide who gets to name the newly-acquired territory, despite the fact that neither of them have thumbs?
I don't know why, but I was expecting the comic to be one big, ongoing adventure (a la The Walking Dead). So, seeing the "the end" message at the last page of the previous issue was kind of disconcerting -even though, there was a nice image suggesting what was going to happen in the next number-. Whatever was hiding under that AWESOME cover was going to be a mystery to us all... and I like the idea a lot.
Most -if not all- episodes on the long-dead Invader Zim TV Series followed this formula and the idea kept the plots rather fresh and enjoyable, so I'm actually glad to see that the old "trick" was re-used in here as well.
The story begins with two shadowy figures walking thru the surface of Planet Horkus 6, a space desert with literally no one around and with a mood that reads "destroyed". The two figures take a deep look at an ancient structure that emerges open-mouthed from the dunes.
Inside the same structure, the two figures try to decipher a series of hieroglyphics depicting a god-like figure that resembles their surroundings. After a few failed attempts at comprehending whatever is written on the walls, the tallest figure revels itself to be none other than Zim and orders his companion -predictably, GIR- to translate the wording for him. GIR does a surprisingly awesome job at first, but then can't help to add his own insanity to the mixture, enraging Zim. After being yelled at, GIR tells what the prophecy says: "And thru the portal came the four-legged kicker of life. The space cleansing nightmare mule, the space horror they called... THE STAR DONKEY!" After such a dramatic display -including an image in the sky resembling the Donkey-, they both departed Horkus, with Zim wondering what could have happened to the Horkans... whose planet seems to have to gigantic craters on the other side that are suspiciously shaped like the hooves of a donkey.
It was clear from the start that two figures were going to be Zim and GIR, but it is amazing how there's STILL a sense of mystery that surrounds their figures until they reveal themselves. How did they hitch-hiked their way home from the Gargantis Array or how's GIR fully repaired now is up to interpretation, but so is the same question at the end of Walk of Doom. Somehow, this is far more amusing than it is annoying.
Weeks later, Dib is using his free time to spy on Bigfeet, another of his paranormal obsessions. He does that by looking at the "monster"'s big collection of selfies, trying to make out the location of the pictures by taking a look at the backgrounds and stuff. That's... not a bad plan, actually, but we don't get to see it in action, because Gaz comes into the room telling that Bigfeet is a nice guy and that Dib shouldn't bother him (she's in one of the selfies, posing and stuff, which leaves Dib jaw-dropped). She also mentions that Zim is on the news.
Zim is at the "Museum of Natural History Museum", disguised as an artist called "Shminvader Shmim" and telling that he's bothered to be there (not "honored", as the person who's interviewing him is fast to correct). He's presenting his new "work of art": an structure identical to the one seen at the surface of planet Horkus that he calls "Hey Star Donkey, Destroy All The Humans #2". He says that this is the sixth of his "Star Donkey" series and then makes up some words; while at home, Dib wonders what is he up to -as if the title of the statue wasn't a good enough clue-.
Zim's plan -as well as disguise- are, once more, shockingly good if we compare them to pretty much anything he has done to get rid of the humans in the past. Him going thru all the necessary troubles to put a plan into action isn't anything new, but the sheer size and danger of this new scheme represents one of the only cases when he's been a real threat to the humans. The commitment and research he seems to have done in order to "fit" his artsy character are also worth a clapping: Humans in his universe have been really easy to fool in the past, but the control he seems to have over them with this new, adopted personality is total and he's cover isn't blown like it has in the past... maybe all these years of inactivity were put to good use after all.
So yeah, in order to summon the Star Donkey, Zim has had to build different structures all over the city, going as far as to have knocked down the wing of a hospital in the process ("my art is all about smashing boundaries and hospitals" he says). Dib's comment on this is simply that "there's no way he's into art" and that he must be hiding something... maybe the atmosphere on the Gargantis Array was somewhat poisonous after all :P
Deciding that he's seen enough, Dib finally runs off to try and stopping Zim. Meanwhile, the Irken's been directing all his "followers" to make the portal functional, which they happily do. He even goes as far as to flat out admit his true intentions to his followers... who regard him as a genius. And, while this is all happening, a barely-disguised Dib shows up to try to sabotage the portal, but Zim quickly catches him and throws him into the "Art haters closet".
Here, he is locked up and put under GIR's guard (who has an arsenal of harmless objects to use in case he tries to scape, which Zim quickly replaces with two actual laser guns). Believing that he won't be a problem anymore, Zim also reveals the plan to Dib... who thinks that it doesn't make any sense, but still warns Zim about the dangers of summoning the creature and adds that there's no way that he can control such a great power. Discarding the possibility, Zim rides Minimoose to his "honorary banquet", while Dib remains trapped in the Art Haters Closet with GIR.
Zim really does enjoy himself at the banquet, going as far as to propose a toast for the destruction of the human race (which is, once more, eagerly followed by displays of encouragement and admiration from his fans). But one thing that I absolutely adore about this whole scene is that someone actually has the nerve to point out that that's a NATURAL history museum and that an "artist" like Zim is just a little out of place there (but of course, he promptly shuts him up). Meanwhile, back at the Art Haters Closet, GIR has Dib frightened and under total control -he even shoots the wall once! To show that he's not kidding, I suppose-, but suddenly lets him go after the latter offers him to guard a pen instead of him.
Unfortunately for him, Dib's escape abruptly ends right outside the museum, where he's chased by two of Zim's "Deadly Robot Snobs", which shoot him endlessly with lasers and follow him back inside, flying-past the banquet itself, where a rather bored Zim answers questions about his future art projects ("something with dogs or something"). He then starts talking about a nice fork in the table, while the robots keep chasing Dib. I don't know if Zim does this on purpose to deviate attention from the mayhem that's happening around him or if he actually IS going as far as to describe the fork for his followers... but if he's for real in here, this is his best attempt at blending in to date.
Dib runs-past a security office, where two guards observe him and then decide... to join the efforts to take him down, because they don't like Art Haters like him. And would you believe that Zim's STILL going on about art at the table? This time he talks about how much he likes pictures where clowns look scary. Dib, on the other hand, has finally reached a point in the museum where he finds a crystal barely mentioned by Zim earlier and tries to destroy it, but Zim gets there first and explains his plan once more, while Dib simply tells that his supposed "work" is a total rip-off of some comics he saw five years ago ("I'm completely original!" Is all Zim has to say about that).
Back outside, Zim actually summons the Star Donkey... who immediately kicks Earth into the Sun... with him still inside the doomed planet. Victory?
Recap Kid is shot down mid-sentence! You know that it's going to be a good issue when something like that happens. Also, take a look at Zim and GIR's shockingly appealing desert clothing.
Seeing this whole display of barely paranormal stuff makes me realize that we haven't seen anything about Mysterious Mysteries yet. Well, they just missed the chance to witness the only two paranormal stuff they were going to see firsthand on this series, so they might as well remain hidden.
Haha, classic Gaz. Also, Zim doesn't have any problem admitting that he's riding a tiny moose (as if it was the most natural thing in the world).
Classic GIR as well. It is truly amazing how much in-character everyone seems to be in this issue.
You know what? Just read the image... nothing I could say could ever top what's in it.
In early entries, you saw me complaining about how the stories seemed to be running out of fuel towards the end, delivering rather weak conclusions to awesome settings... well, Issue #3 doesn't have that problem. Like, at all.
It's so weird to be saying this -specially if you look at who's been working on the comic- but it seems like they just found the right use for these characters. EVERYONE from Zim to Gaz is in his or her element here and they NAIL every line they say. There's also something truly amazing about seeing Zim's plan totally work for once... even if utterly fails due to the Earth no longer being there and him crashing into the sun; he's been plotting to end all life on the planet since his very first contact with it, and now that he's done it, it feels like the end of a cycle... or it would, if it wasn't for the fact that that's no way to end such a great series. As a "snack", though, it is fantastic.
So, I guess that you wouldn't be all that shocked to hear that this has been my favorite Issue so far. It truly embraces everything I like about the series and just plays with it, making it all feel like an adventure. And, like I said, having Zim's plan actually working was a neat and unexpected detail that added to the -already huge- comic's enjoyability.
Did you know...?
One of the cover variants for this issue is a reference to the movie They live?
jueves, 17 de diciembre de 2015
You know what I hate about ending in a cliffhanger? That the resolution isn't usually as sweet due to you having to wait a very (VERY) long time to see what happens -forgetting details along the way too-. But I honestly can't complain that much about that here, because this new installment feels like its own, separated thing... and even if it didn't, we still have our good, old friend Recap Kid freshening our memories.
That cover, though... I know that they were probably going for something scary, but having Zim almost devouring Dib in a donuts-covered... space? Isn't exactly what I want to see at the start of my Invader Zim. I won't be judging this book for its cover, though!
The first thing we notice is that this issue is FILLED with space and ships... two things that were strangely absent in Invader Zim during its cartoon times -not that they WEREN'T there, but we didn't see them as much as you might think-. Thankfully, this one starts off by showing us The Massive (the Irken flagship) itself... and we are going to see a lot of Tak's ship too. So far, everything's more than fine.
But of course The Massive isn't there just for show -I wouldn't mind it, though- but to give us yet another example of the time-passing on the series... seriously, how much time does it need to pass for the Almighty Tallest to forget who Zim is? I LOVE the detail, but it's so weird... Zim was the guy who single-handily ruined Operation Impeding Doom I. I know that Irkens tend to forget lots of important stuff, but come on.
So anyway, Zim makes the call assuming that the Tallest have been really worried about his lack of communication during recent times, yells a lot of stuff about his greatest plan and cuts the transmission before they can reply because GIR is making a smoothie (it is not clear if he approves of disapproves the idea, though... maybe he likes them now). What follows is a single shot of the Tallest remembering who he is and reacting in an incredibly disappointed way about the fact that he's not dead.
We then cut to Dib -aboard Tak's ship- getting lost in space and having an argument with the computer about how to track Zim's ship. The uncooperative computer -which has Tak's personality download into it- says that Zim's Voot Cruiser is easy to track because it's basically garbage, but is quick to add that, although it can track it along the vast void of space, it doesn't want to (because it doesn't like Dib at all). I'm... actually surprised at how fast Dib loses it here and starts arguing with the ship, but I'm even more shocked about the settlement of that same argument, with the ship actually agreeing to do what he ask (as long as he ASKS for it) but remarking that it doesn't have to like the order nor him (which Dib also tries to argue about, although he quickly realizes that is no use to get in a fight with the ship while in space). It then displays information about Zim's weapons and continues to talk about how unprepared he is to do the task and it even finds a spot to both ask Dib what he's going to do once he catches Zim ("stop it") and to say that he's using a stolen Irken Ship which he has no idea how to use. Its final "OK, tracking Zim's garbage signature for the Earthbaby with no plan" really sells the moment.
What follows after that is a series of stops in the space equivalent of roadside attractions, with Zim always beating Dib by mere seconds and departing all those planets before he could have a chance to land on them. There's also a particularly great scene about Dib thinking that he's being asked for a bribe in exchange for information about Zim, which I won't spoil in here, but that is hilarious. And you know what? While I was reading this, I was wondering why Tak's advanced, custom ship couldn't keep up with Zim's obsolete Voot Cruiser... the reason? The ship was TRACKING the VC, not trying to CATCH it, just to piss off Dib. That's the kind of thing that Tak would do and I find it pretty amazing just because of that.
They finally arrive at the Universe's Biggest Ball of Shmoop (it's kind of sentient!), where Zim has also been to but is long gone as well. Here, Dib finds the only alien in the universe with the knowledge of the Jump Codes necessary to get to the Gargantis Array and proceeds to talk to her, taking advantage of the fact that "she gets really talkative when she's on fire". We then cut to a flashback showing that she won't give the codes to Zim... unless he buys a lot of stuff (which Zim happily agrees to do). Shocked, Dib asks the two most obvious questions: how could she have given the codes to Zim and why would he set the planet on fire if she cooperated? The first question remains unanswered until she agrees to provide Dib with the codes as well in exchange for him buying a t-shirt (and remarking that she's very bad at protecting stuff), while the answer to the other question is that GIR is simply really bad at cooking stuff in the microwave.
The next thing that happens is that Zim is tasting his victory and saying that it was "almost too easy" without Dib getting in the way... just to have him showing up a mere second later. NOW, this is something that I don't get... Zim has SEEN Dib using Tak's ship at least once and KNOWS that he has it... so, what does he act so surprised when he sees him? It is true that the ship was unable to fly due to the damage it sustained during the dogfight it had with Zim's VC in Tak: The Hideous New Girl but it was perfectly operational nonetheless and it just seems like an oddity to have Zim reacting that way at the sight of it.
There's once more a dogfight involving those two ships, but the result is quite different this time around, with Zim inadvertently telling Dib how to shot the lasers on his ship and taking him out, crash landing on the Gargantis Array itself, with Dib following behind. Then there's a somewhat heartbreaking scene involving a heavily damaged GIR -which Zim used as a Scape Pod- telling his master to go without him... which he does long before he starts talking, and asks GIR if he has said something.
I like that Dib is actually worried about the absence of a breathable atmosphere inside the Array, because -even though he's been to at least a hundred of places in space by now- this is a very distant part of the galaxy and the rules might have changed there. His excited "Sweet! I didn't die" is such a great line if we take that into account.
Literally two days later, Zim finally finds the control room to the Array, with Dib hot on his heels and proceeds to explain that it is not a weapon... unless you use the right ammo. Turns out that the Gargantis Array is a gigantic and powerful broadcasting structure used to transmit a single signal everywhere in the universe at once... which he loads with Dib's training montage -that contains lots of embarrassing scenes in it-. Stranded in the Array, but having humiliated his mortal enemy, Zim declares this his victory; while Dib gets home and is tortured by the thought of having all sentient life in the universe making fun of his former shape and cheese comeback song.
It's great to see the Irken Armada traveling thru space again. I have always liked the design of The Massive in the series, but it's absolutely nice -and kinda relieving- to see it in such a good shape here as well.
The rarely-used two-eyed Irken logo is a great detail too... I have never been a fan of the standard military Irken insignia.
If that "Dark Matter" is anything like the one used in Futurama, I would stay the hell away from those donuts.
This is easily one of the best scenes in the comic. The dogfight between Zim and Dib is very well staged and the last shot of Zim "ejecting" from his doomed Voot Cruiser has a true sense of speed and urge to it.
The sheer amount of cruelty, madness and even nastiness present on this page is quite impressive -even by the series's standards-.
... But this one really gives it a good run for its money.
While it is true that the First Issue had some minor mistakes that prevented it from being "perfect", this one more than makes up for it. It is hard to explain it if you haven't read it, but the color, the drawings, the story (which thankfully takes place entirely on space) and the inclusion of both the Irken Armada and Tak's ship all make for a very interesting to plot that just keeps you guessing what's going to happen and in which direction the story is going to go.
Zim's travel thru all those dirty space places is actually very neat, and -from Dib's point of view-, he could just be gathering materials to build his super-weapon.
The story does get a little weaker towards the end, once the Gargantis Array's true nature is revealed, but everything that surrounds the event is more than cool, so everything's fine.
Did you know...?
That the dog that GIR blasted into space on the First Issue can be seen while Dib chases Zim?
miércoles, 16 de diciembre de 2015
Looking at this cover (specially if you found it by accident, without any kind of context to it -which was my case-) you would have to wonder if what you are seeing is actually real or just the "shadow" of a project that would never come to life. What do I mean by this? Well... It's hard to explain without first entering the mind-frame of the average fan of this series at that point in time; you know, a very disappointed person whose favorite cartoon ended abruptly more than twelve years ago and that had been fueling his passion for the thing on re-runs (which usually focused on broadcasting only the worst episodes of the series... somehow) and all sorts of rumors that didn't really have much sense to begin with. As you can see, there was a very messed up situation from which there wasn't much to extract.
This, however, looked suspiciously competent and there were more than a few reasons to believe that it was going to be the real thing: Onipress was an actual company that had already brought to life other comics, their first announcement on the project looked professional and it was endorsed by Johnen Vasquez himself. This was it.
Just like InvaderCON and other such events, the comic sat remarkably well amongst the fans and sold out in less than a month, showing once more that the support for the series never ceased to exist. And it wasn't only the novelty of seeing those guys once more what did the trick, this really felt like something that would belong to their universe and all the key elements that made the stories so good in the first place were present on the pages of the magazine... "same thing, different package". And for once, that's not a bad thing!
While nothing particularly impressive in its own right, the plot both serves as a continuation to the original story and as a surprising justification for the time that's passed since the last time we saw these guys. In this reality, Zim has been gone for years and Dib has decided to spend all his time watching his security monitors in search for the alien. This is great because it truly causes an effect on both of them, making Dib become a fat, filthy creature with a stink so powerful that no one can approach him and with a desktop chair -literally- melted to his butt. The irony? This was Zim's plan all along! And it must be his best plan to date too.
You know? It is nice to see him actually planning something to exploit his foe's weaknesses instead of trying to incorporate him as the "random factor" that would play along -and ruin- his previous schemes.
Still, these are still Zim and Dib and a plan so simple just wouldn't work completely for either of them. So, when Zim finally decides to show up, he couldn't help but rubbing his plan on Dib's face -thus making him aware of his intentions... an error that the young Irken just seem to can't stop committing- and gives Dib a fair chance to turn the tables. This may sound boring explained in undetailed text, but trust me, it's truly a highlight of the thing... just seeing Zim tasting his victory over a shocked and defenseless Dib is good enough, but the things he does to prove his "superiority" and so childish that it becomes impossible not to laugh at them (I'm talking kicking trashcans and swapping people's mail!).
I also find it hilarious that, knowing that Zim is back to his old manners, Dib thinks he has the time to perform a "training montage" to get back in shape. I get that he NEEDS to do that in order to stop the evil alien, but having the whole montage is just overkill... and I wouldn't like it any other way.
Anyway, while all of this is happening, Zim gets in contact with Vortian Prisoner 777 in order to get information about the legendary Gargantis Array, a super-weapon that he's planning to use but that's has reached legendary status and that most people think it's a myth. Knowing nothing about it, but fearing that Zim would erase his children from existence if he doesn't cooperate, the prisoner supplies him with information about the possible whereabouts of the only person on the universe who knows the jump necessary codes to reach the array. Surprisingly, after he's given the information he needs, Zim spends the next week watching -and criticizing- TV with GIR, while Dib gets back in shape and confronts him about his plans (saying that he would have gotten back sooner if it wasn't because he had to undo some of his training, because he got huge and gross).
Suddenly rushed, Zim jumps into his Voot Cruiser -not without having to deal with GIR's weirdness- and goes into space, while Minimoose distracts Dib long enough for his master to scape. And yes, it is actually refreshing to see MM back after his only appearance in the series before it got cancelled.
Minimoose then shocks Dib while Zim flies off into space. Scared but determined, Dib gets into a pretty damaged and not really safe Tak's Ship and goes after him, ending the issue on a cliffhanger.
Now, let's take a look at the thing. Shall we?
Immediately, the comic does something that I really like: there's no doubt in my mind that it primarily
exists as a love letter to the fans, but it was also meant as something that anyone could pick up and read and so, the idea of having a small recap at the beginning of the thing was simply clever (and the character in charge of doing that is very well in the spirit of the series). Also, "puppet show"? Sneaky reference there.
This is a really strong, colorful drawing. I might be alone on this, but I have always thought that the Membrane residence looked a little dull and uninteresting in the series and I believe that it gains a LOT from this re-design.
Professor Membrane is deliciously in and off character as the same time in here. For once, he exaggerates even the most simple of tasks, but since when does he have time for cooking and being with his children?
The infamous training montage. It is amazing how much the idea of not having to deal with Dib's smell anymore can affect Gaz, up to the point to actually helping him to get back in shape.
Zim being unnecessarily evil towards a slave with no means of defense. Seriously, I missed the guy.
If the episode "Nubs of Doom" would have aired as planned, Minimoose would have proven himself a capable speaker, able to talk people out of their ideas. Wouldn't think it would work on Dib, though.
While no masterpiece by any means, Issue #1 does a fantastic job at reviving the long-dead franchise. Everything it does, it does well, but just seems to be running out of the fuel towards the last few pages and that somewhat damages the overall feeling of the thing.
That's not to say that they just got bored and quit half-way thru the thing, though! There's definitely an insane amount of talent and effort that went into making it this as good as possible and it truly shows... from the gorgeous-looking drawings, to the jokes, everything is spot-on.
Like I said, I just had minor issues with the thing -like the way some of the dialogue seemed a little out of place- and I truly enjoyed what it had to offer. Definitely worth the prize.
Did you know...?
That a total of 17 cover variations were made for this issue?