Futurama Comics #4
Title: D.O.O.P. the Right Thing
Writer: Eric Rogers, with Bill Morrison
Art: Pam Cooke, Phyllis Novin
The long awaited 4th issue of the Futurama series of comics has arrived, and I pick it up, give it a couple of scans with my optic sensors and then proceed to evaluate the product. Roll product evaluation summary:
First of all, a plot summary. Apparently, Captain Zapp Brannigan of the D.O.O.P. is lost on the jungles of a planet known as Da Nang 4, whose natives are at war with the Democratic Order of Planets. A message to Kif from Zapp reveals he has been made the king of a native tribe and he requests that a one-eyed queen be sent to him, specifically Leela. Leela reluctantly goes to Da Nang 4 and while she and Kif go to find Zapp, Bender and Fry look for some booze on the planet.
Okay, so that's the premise, and it's a good one. The story works really well, and really does feel like a real plot from the show. It starts off really well, and quite different from the usual. While the TV show generally leads into the story gradually, in this issue the reader is placed smack bang straight into it from the first page. It's different and it works. The main story with Kif and Leela, and then later Zapp, also works exceptionally well. Very much like a plot from the show, it is funny, original and keeps the reader interested. The side-plot works well, with Fry and Bender trying to find booze. It doesn't last long, but it does make sure that these two main characters aren't simply forgotten about, and that's very important. It also provides some nice pieces of humour too. Another thing I liked about this issue was that it wasn't afraid to be a tad risqué. The Simpsons comics will sometimes tone down or exclude the more sexual side of things for example, but things like that aren't sacrificed here, which is good because otherwise the whole interaction between Leela and Zapp would be very dull. It really does fit in nicely with the story and their characters, just like on the show. A toned down Zapp simply wouldn't work.
It's also a great parody of the classic film, Apocalypse Now, with Zapp a perfect lampoon of the huge Marlon Brando and several other characters parodying the film. It's excellently pulled off, and probably the best parody in all the comics that Bongo has released. Very well done, and another reason why this comic stands head and shoulder above most others.
The artwork is darn near flawless. Apart from a few minor niggles, its very, very good. Nothing much more to say really. The characters look well drawn, even the original ones are nicely done and in keeping with the Futurama world. The backgrounds are busy which is very much in style for Futurama. Looks like the standard of the average Futurama issue far beats the average Simpsons issue, just like in the show.
Like the last issue, it's the characterisation where this comic really stands out. Leela is brilliantly characterised, as is Kif. Both are very reluctant to actually go to Zapp. Kif's later jealousy of Zapp's new native assistant is wonderfully done. Zapp himself is his typical obnoxious, sex/Leela-obsessed self. Bender and Fry are nicely done, with Bender being selfish and uncaring and Fry being a little dull, but in the end helping to save the day. Nice to see Glab again, and the new characters, such as Zapp's new assistant of the Charlie tribe, are well created new individuals.
On a final note on characters, it's good to see Kif and Zapp finally get the spotlight in the comics.
Overall, I'd have to say it's the best issue so far. It's funny, it's interesting, it's original, it's well characterised, it looks great and it quite simply deserves to be a full-fledged episode. For Zapp fans, Kif fans, or just fans of the series in general, this will be a treat and is also the comic that should set the standard for future Futurama comics. Like the show, it's not afraid to be a little risqué, so it's good to see that it's not one of those "toned down for the younger readers" style comics. I highly recommend this comic, so stop reading this and buy it! buy it now!!
Most Memorable Moment: So many classic moments, it's hard to choose. Zapp's signal flair probably.
Worst Moment: Nothing. A flawless issue
- Kenneth White