Invader Zim #2

"Invader Zim" was a strange (but enjoyable) animated show back in the day, with Jhonen Vasquez's bizarre sense of humor brought to life in deliberately off-beat ways. It's great to see Vasquez helming up this comic book continuation of the long-cancelled series along with Eric Trueheart, Aaron Alexovich and Megan Lawton. While many of the "Invader Zim" trademarks work well in the comic, there are a few spots where you can't help but think it would have been funnier as a show rather than as a comic.

"Invader Zim" #2 wraps up the story kicked off last month, as Dib follows Zim into space to try and stop him from obtaining the dreaded Gargantis Array. A lot of the overall snark and deadpan oddities hit their mark, like the alien who's on fire calmly noting that it is indeed on fire but that it's also quite chatty when it's burning or Dib discovering that Tak's spaceship can follow direct orders while still being distinctly unhelpful as it so chooses.

Some of the success of "Invader Zim" #2 also comes from Alexovich and Lawton, who are able to draw the comic in the same angular and jagged (yet internally consistent) manner in which the show was produced. I love that they're able to bring a real sense of scale to the pages when the Gigantis Array appears, for example, and make "Invader Zim" as a comic work on a visual level. With some good page layouts -- the "Have You Seen This Alien?" page does a lot of one-panel scenes in fast succession that works really well -- and a very expressive Dib, I like how this book comes together.

The stumbling point for me is the conclusion of the story, though. There's something about its offbeat nature that seems to hinge on laughter and voices and, on the printed pages, it just lands with a thud. The concept behind Zim's master plan with the Gigantis Array is funny, but the execution is so static that it just can't compare. It's a shame because it's the note that "Invader Zim" #2 goes out on, and a fairly funny and inventive comic's final moment for the month is a sour one.

Still, even with an ending that doesn't quite hit its mark, there's enough other good material in "Invader Zim" #2 that it's still above average. I'm glad that Oni Press has such a strong creative and I think this is still a gift from heaven for diehard fans. I'll be back for more.

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