Continuing the trend from last issue, Invader Zim #7 features a new guest artist and writer. This time around we’ve got Kyle Starks on the script and Dave Crosland on pencils (with layouts by regular artist Aaron Alexovich). While the issue isn’t quite as out there as KC Green’s guest stint last month, it’s still an amusing little Zim tale.
Invader Zim #7 (Oni Press)
In this one, Zim and Gir crash-land on a barren planetoid, stranding themselves in the middle of nowhere. The chemicals from the Voot Cruiser react with the planetoid’s chemistry, causing life to grow and evolve at a rapid rate. In order to get the Voot Cruiser repaired and get back to Earth, Zim will have to manipulate the evolving amoeba lifeforms into thinking he is their creator and god.
You’re probably getting a case of deja vu from that summary, at least if you’ve watched either The Simpsons or Futurama. The “Treehouse of Horror VII” segment “The Genesis Tub” from The Simpsons and the Futurama episode “Godfellas” both did variations of this same plot. Arguably, it’s on its way to becoming one of those “generic plots” like a body-swap or a shrinking episode. And Hell, I think The Twilight Zone beat both Matt Groening shows to the punch on that plot by a few decades, anyway.
The point is, it might seem a little too familiar and maybe a tad stock. That said, Starks works the Zim characters into the tapestry of this template rather well. Irkan hierarchy is based on height, so Zim immediately applies that logic to the new society he’s cultivating; the amoebas worship him without question due to his towering height. Oddly, at the end of the story, the amoebas evolve into a new lifeform which is taller than Zim, yet they continue to worship him and take orders from him; apparently having forgotten the “height = superiority” thing he taught them at the dawn of time.
Crosland sticks to the show’s aesthetic without fail, which might have been helped along by Alexovich’s layouts (keeping to the show’s style is one of Alexovich’s strengths). Crosland perhaps lacks a flavor that makes his take on the characters stand out, but I noticed his Zim and Gir were a smidge gushier and more elastic than Alexovich’s, so you can still see traces of his fingerprint on the finished art. The colorist for the issue, Warren Wucinich, mercifully remembers to color Gir’s eyes RED when he’s in duty mode. I don’t know why, but that’s the one thing the Oni Press comic has been having a real hard time with since it began. So good on Wucinich.
There’s also a short back-up strip by KC Green. In this bonus, Zim has Dib tied to a table and at the mercy of a memory-eraser device. Of course, it goes haywire and the two characters begin to forget both fundamental and abstract concepts.
Green’s art in this back-up is a bit more “Gunshow” than his art for the full issue last month. It works for a back-up and I enjoyed seeing the Zim characters rendered in his whacked-out and exaggerated style. One of the things Zim makes Dib forget is how to hear voice actors’ voices in your head. I don’t know about you, but that’s something I’ve occasionally had actual trouble with; sitting down, trying to read a Batman comic and focusing all my energy in getting Kevin Conroy or Mark Hamill to talk in my brain. So it’s reassuring to know it’s not just me who has encountered that setback.
So far, I’d say this was the weakest issue of the series. That’s not to speak too ill of the comic; it was still pretty funny and the art was quite solid.