“Angry Birds” #1 is the debut of the comics tie-in to the popular game franchise. The three short stories by Jeff Parker, Paul Tobin, Paco Rodriques, Marco Gervasio and Cesar Ferioli all revolve around the familiar and setup of the game with Birds and their eternal nemeses, the Pigs. Like the game, it’s simple but it works well.
Although the stories are separate, they are visually tired together by the flipbook-style illustration at the bottom that runs through the whole issue. This is a nice touch, but the action of the flipbook doesn’t have any surprises, just the leitmotif of the game.
All the stories in “Angry Birds” #1 feel like an episode of “Tiny Toons” or other classic Warner Bros. cartoons in their episode structure, sense of humor and atmosphere. The jokes and characters carry the action and the stories all conclude neatly.
The first story, “Bomb Hiccups” by Jeff Parker and Paco Rodriques is also the longest, taking up half the issue. Of the three stories, it’s the most buoyant and fun due to Bomb’s upbeat and happy personality and dialogue. Parker draws a great opening panel with Bomb thirstily gulping down water, which introduces his cute, hyperactive personality and as well directly leading into the catalyst for the plot. Parker gets in some good jokes, especially the “explosive biology” sequence, and Rodriques is good at getting across the birds’ personalities through facial expressions. The resolution has a classic twist that comes off well due to Rodriques’ pacing.
The second story, “Dumb Assembly Required” by Paul Tobin and Marco Gervasio, focuses on the Pigs only. It’s like a musical theme and variations, except with jokes instead of melody. Tobin and Gervasio go in for some fun flights of fancy with what the Pigs can construct, but the plot doesn’t have any build. Gervasio’s art has great detail, and the punchline is predictable but works fine to tie off the ending. .
In the third story, “Propiganda”, Jeff Parker and Cesar Ferioli take the “Angry Birds” theme of war one step further, into a more subtle form of combat. It’s very imaginative, from the pun in the title to the charades-like visual form of the propaganda. The story deepens characterization, because the Birds feel especially anthropomorphic when Parker pokes at their fears. This story works well for the strengths of “Angry Birds.” The setup of Birds vs. Pigs takes advantage of all the benefits of a continual warfare setup, like camaraderie, purpose, and rich fodder for conflict, without any of the drawbacks of warfare like bigotry, trauma or causalities. I don’t count the eggs, which function more like prizes than like children.
“Angry Birds” is a successful debut, because it doesn’t just count on riding on the success of the games. The comic is suitable for all ages but won’t be boring for adults, and existing fans should be pleased. However, it would be interesting for future issues to try for more formal experimentation or tell a longer story, since there is the space to make different kinds of stories possible.