I have to hand it to Michael Raicht, Brian Smith, and Jake Myler. Several times when I was reading the latest issue of “Finding Nemo,” I thought to myself, “I bet Pixar wishes they’d thought of this for a sequel first.”
For those not up to date with “Losing Dory,” Marlin, Nemo, and company are trying to find Dory, who disappeared during a field trip to a nearby park, but they keep running into trouble of their own. Meanwhile, Dory’s been tricked into thinking she’s going to perform for an audience of fish, but really she’s being set up as a sacrifice to lure (and be eaten by) a huge fish-eating monster away from the reef of her kidnappers.
“Losing Dory” is a nice twist on the original film; instead of having Nemo lost yet again, we get Nemo and his dad Marlin side-by-side, but there’s still the missing-fish-quest that needs to be performed. Swapping Dory and Nemo (as well as adding in some of Nemo’s friends) works better than expected; Dory’s scatterbrained nature is driving her kidnappers crazy instead of Marlin, and Marlin’s over-protectiveness ends up being both help and hindrance depending on the situation.
Each issue has also had an obstacle for the fish to get through, and this issue’s adventure involving humans trying to pull up a sunken submarine is the best one yet. The danger here is both internal to the school of fish as they get themselves into this mess, as well as an external danger with a ticking clock before Nemo, Gill, Bruce, Squirt, and Pearl all get hauled up to the surface where the lack of water would kill them. Raicht and Smith don’t let Marlin always be right or wrong in “Finding Nemo,” and the balance helps make the story flow smoothly and create tension thanks to never knowing if one of Marlin’s ideas is going to be successful or dangerous.
Jake Myler’s art is nice; you’d never mistake it for the slick computer animated work from Pixar, but none the less all of the fish look like their movie counterparts, and he’s particularly good at drawing a silly-looking Dory. I also need to give him credit where it’s due; drawing expressions on fish is a thankless and difficult task, but he manages to nail it and give us all sorts of fish faces.
Three issues in, the “Finding Nemo” ongoing series is doing quite well. Even the title of this story, “Losing Dory,” is so perfect that it makes me think Pixar is kicking itself for not snagging it first. I’m finding myself pleasantly surprised with the good work by all three creators on this comic. At the end of each issue, I want to dig out my “Finding Nemo” DVD and watch it again because this comic nails the original’s tone and fun. They’re definitely doing something right here.