In this month’s thrilling chapter of Invader Zim, Zim is inspired by a school talent show to become (in his own words) “Beast Master Zim”. As only the most terrifying of beasts will do, Zim journeys out into space to collect a Snarlbeast. Dib, of course, tries to thwart his evil scheme and suffers every step of the way.
Invader Zim #10 (Oni Press)
New writers Dennis and Jessie Hopeless tackle script duties with this issue, but the voices and attitude remain consistent with the previous installments and the TV series what came before it. Jhonen Vasquez, creator of Zim, is credited as “Control Brain” in each issue, though I wonder if he ever tinkers with the scripts on an editorial level. I ponder this because EVERY writer they’ve had on this title has been uncannily consistent with humor and tone, which leads me to think there might be some sort of control… brain… aligning all the dialogue and characterization with each issue.
Point is, you won’t skip a beat with the new writers. It all holds together nicely.
This issue is a bit funnier in the front end, as Zim endures an insipid elementary school talent show featuring acts that only vaguely fit the criteria of “talent”. The actual impetus for Zim wanting to become a Beast Master is the funniest bit in the issue and reminds me of the kind of shit I saw in my own elementary school “talent” shows.
The back end of the issue mostly consists of Dib getting throttled by the Snarlbeast and the physical comedy gets old after a a page or two. While I get that Dib exists only to suffer like some sort of reincarnation of Job (or maybe Charlie Brown), the “sucks to be Dib” gimmick is growing tired after so many issues in a row of it. I guess it’s not so bad on a monthly basis, though I wonder how monotonously this last string of issues is going to read when collected in trade.
Dave Crosland’s doing a great job on art. Aaron Alexovich is no longer providing layouts for him and he’s taken on full visual duties like a champ. His style perhaps lacks an individual identity, but just like Alexovich he nails the aesthetic of the universe and everything looks on-model.
While I’m still digging this book and never miss a month, I think it could use something to break up the streak of similar stories. Just as the cartoon employed half hour episodes every now and then as a break from the 15-minute adventures, I’d like to see another two-parter like the one that opened this series. Even if it’s just more of Dib getting beat up and embarrassed, it would show a little more ambition and that would be appreciated.