“Dib uses an alien disguise to fool Zim into trusting him.” It’s one of those plots so obvious, I can’t believe it hadn’t been done until now. But hey, here it is, so let’s see if writers Eric Trueheart and Jhonen Vasquez made it work.
Invader Zim #9 (Oni Press)
To expand on the summary, Dib is at his wit’s end trying to get people on the internet to like his videos about aliens. Ultimately, he decides to disguise himself as an alien named Derb and take a job as Zim’s intern, thus giving him access to Zim’s secret base and all the proof he needs. Of course, he has to suffer through ever-more-demeaning busy work before he gets what he wants.
After last month’s issue about symbiotic space-pants and the people who love them, Dib disguising himself as an alien to gain Zim’s trust feels considerably less inspired. Like I said, it’s an obvious plot (to the point where I can’t believe it was never done before) and if you’re familiar with the rhythm of an Invader Zim episode then you won’t have any trouble guessing how the story ends. Dib triumphs but ultimately doesn’t get what he wants and winds up suffering even more than if he hadn’t bothered? You know it!
The formula is getting a little well-trodden, but some weird gags spice up the script along the way. There’s gruesome technology like a flesh printer, or a bit where Zim begins a sentence and then waits awkwardly in total silence before completing it at another destination. I mean, I laughed, so you know. The issue has its moments, if not as many as past installments.
Aaron Alexovich contributes layouts while Dave Crosland finishes. This is their third issue working together and their synergy is starting to improve. Crosland’s finishes don’t look nearly as static as when he took over covering Alexovich’s layouts in issue 7 and the book’s starting to get some of its visual energy back. There’s a monster that shows up near the end; it doesn’t do anything but it looks pretty cool. Likewise, all the rooms in Zim’s base and house have a great feel to them, especially the pod room.
Is It Good?
I was a bit let down by this issue, but even when “let down” I still think the book is pretty good. There isn’t a rip-snorter on every page like usual, but it’s a funny issue nevertheless.