One of the things I’ve liked about Boom! Studio’s kids line is that titles like “The Incredibles” and “The Muppet Show” have captured the same spirit and fun of the properties they’re based on. When I sat down with “Toy Story: Mysterious Stranger” #1, then, I found myself a little surprised. For the first time, I couldn’t help but feel that this was a by-the-numbers tie-in comic.
The plot itself is a little too reminiscent of the original “Toy Story” as the toys in Andy’s room get jealous with a new arrival, and how some of the toys finally decide to act in order to get rid of the interloper. While the original “Toy Story” took that idea of fear and jealousy and crafted an entire bonding-experience story around it, though, “Toy Story: Mysterious Stranger” doesn’t go any further. Half of the first issue is just the toys trying to figure out what the mysterious egg is, and then the second half is the combination of the revenge and the rescue by the different factions of toys. It’s too little in terms of actual plot, with each half of the issue getting old awfully fast. Had this been an eight-page story in the old newsstand magazine “Disney Adventures” I think it might have worked, but as a full-size comic it’s leaden.
On the plus side, Chris Moreno’s art looks cute and fits “Toy Story” pretty well. He wisely doesn’t even try to make his art look like the computer-generated style of a Pixar movie, but all of the characters still look true to their counterparts. I think he’s at his best with the more-human of the toys; Little Bo Peep in particular cracked me up with her attempts to communicate with the egg and how well he drew her facial expressions.
At the end of the day, “Toy Story: Mysterious Stranger” #1 is a lackluster start to the mini-series. I’m hoping the remaining three issues will have some more pep and wonder to them. This unfortunately just didn’t hit the high marks that both Pixar and the Boom! Kids line have up until now, but there’s still chances for improvement.