Futurama Comics #9
Title: Freaky Fry-Day
Writer: Eric Rogers
Art: Tom King, John Delaney, Phyllis Novin, Rick Reese
The ninth issue has been in my mitts a while now, so it's about time it got the ol' review from me. Issues have ranged from excellent to not quite making the cut, and that can often depend on the originality of the premise at hand. So when Futurama Comics takes on the tired old tradition of body swapping (or mind swapping...) will it be a success that trancends the genre, or will it be as tired as most of the things that dare to take on the much-used forumula. Read on and find out.
Yes, as I said, the basic storyline here evolves around mind exchange. Nothing terribly original mind you, but if done right, even the most used themes can be fresh. The basic story is that Great Nephew Day has arrived, and Fry gets the Professor a present in the form of a glowing green rock that is legally distinct from Kryptonite on by the fact that it's not called by the same name. Also, its effects on Superman are unknown. Its effects on Fry and the Professor, if they both wear it simultaneously around their necks, is that once they both sleep, they will awaken with the other's body. The only thing is, the Professor wants to keep it a secret for a while so that he can use Fry's body to be young again, while Fry is just presumed to be the Professor acting insane and he's taken away.
So... does it pull it off, you may ask? Well... yes, and no. First of all, I'm happy they didn't go with the obviously Shippy choice of having Fry switch minds with Leela. That already makes it somewhat original, because face it, that would be the obvious choice for most writers to go down. The Professor in Fry's body acts pretty much how you'd expect, and I must say that he doesn't treat his new home with much respect. He beats up Wernstrom, gets Fry in trouble and has casual sex. There are some good moments featuring the Professor's antics in his uncle's torso, but that's one of the main problems: Fry being in the Professor's form is barely explored. It's a shame that he's somewhat neglected, but then I guess what he could do wouldn't be that interesting, or probably even fit to be rendered within the pages of a comic book. So, the story and jokes are alright, but there's really nothing outstanding and not that much that hasn't been done before. Although Wernstrom attempting to get some revenge later provides what is no doubt the highlight of the issue. Overall though, it could have been so much more.
Speaking of Wernstrom, he and the other characters are all brilliantly portrayed. He and the Professor really shine in this issue, though everybody else becomes somewhat neglected as soon as the mind-swap takes place. No problems on the character front. The art is another matter though. It's busy and colourful, like Futurama should be, and generally has been in the past issues. However, it's rather sloppy overall. The characters are a tad off-model in many shots and it has an overall look of being a bit rushed. A lot more care could have gone into the whole thing, looking a bit like the Simpsons Comics art that plagued that comic series from the 50's (issue number, not year decade...) onwards and I hope this doesn't become common place with these comics too. It was a bit the same two issues ago with the Terminator parody. Also, there appears to be a few nasty pixellated areas here and there that look like they were made in MS Paint and then resized. I'm not sure if it's the issues overall or just these New Zealand/Australia reprints, but lines like around Leela's lips, Nixon's holographic head and the reflections in mirrors look this way and it's kind of tacky. Overall, the art, while not awful, it a let down when earlier issues set a much higher standard.
Overall... well, it's okay I guess. There are some good laughs and while it could have been done better, it's not bad. It took on a well-used subject and while it didn't exactly break new ground, it at least wasn't tired and overly predictable. And even the bits that were had a good amount of Groening style humour. Shame about the shoddy art though, though a computer game should never be judged on graphics alone, so neither should this. Overall, worth picking up, despite its faults. You'll no doubt get a few laughs that'll make the purchase worth it.
Most Memorable Moment: Wernstrom trying to beat Farnsworth up with his Chinese grad-students, only to discover they don't know any martial arts or fighting skills of any kind.
Worst Moment: No moments as such. The gag about Leela's hair drags on a bit though.
- Kenneth White