The first BOOM! Box offering, “The Midas Flesh” #1, gives readers a spaceship dogfight, a talking Utahraptor and a modernized take on the legend of King Midas. Writer Ryan North and artists Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb keep the story lively and entertaining, never fully revealing anything, but slowly building a world around the reader as if using LEGO bricks.
The text page at the back of this issue refers to the BOOM! Box line as the “carefully curated, artfully decorated mix tapes of comic book-ery.” If that metaphor were to hold true, “The Midas Flesh” #1 is an Allman Brothers, Ziggy Stardust and Imagine Dragons mashup. Lifting a note from Jason Aaron’s inclusion of Broo as a student at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, North and company raise the bar by throwing a spacesuit on the Utahraptor. Later on, that same raptor sports specs and a tie, trading barbs with his crewmates Fatima and Joey. Cooper (the Utahraptor) is a cautious participant in this story, but no less a human component than the actual humans in the spacecraft that approaches Earth’s orbit.
The artwork is refreshingly relaxed and animated with solid, strong colors filling the Disney-like drawings. It doesn’t take much to project this adventure out in a more animated format, with characters delivering lines like, “I do rule the schools, thanks for noticing.” Paroline and Lamb power through the story with unstoppable expressions — from King Midas’ pondering as he strokes his beard to Cooper adjusting his glasses higher on his dinosaur snout, these characters come to life in “The Midas Flesh” #1 rather than simply existing.
Powered by a creative team that shares credits on “Adventure Time,” this comic book is not at all stymied by a lack of imagination. I’m not exactly sure what the space travelers have to do with the origins of King Midas, but the hook has been baited and I’ve been hooked. “The Midas Flesh” #1 is a bizarrely familiar, but reverently and humorously modernized fable intertwined with an apparent space opera that happens to feature a Utahraptor. BOOM! Box has given readers a solid first offering that feels like an underground independent success in the making. The best part? This is, so very clearly, just the beginning.