Although I didn’t review the last few issues of Invader Zim, don’t think for a second I stopped reading. Oni Press’s Invader Zim has been good stuff since it began, never failing to channel the spirit, energy and aesthetic of the Nickelodeon cartoon. Past issues have been written by Jhonen Vasquez (also the creator) and Eric Trueheart, with Aaron Alexovich providing the art (in a phenomenally on-model style). K.C. Green takes his turn with this issue. Is it good?
Invader Zim #6 (Oni Press)
In this madcap tale of rascally extraterrestrial hijinks, Zim and Gir attempt to get a loan from a local bank so they can buy weapons-grade plutonium. The plan quickly goes awry when Gir and Zim fail to operate their fat-man mech-suit in perfect synchronicity. Actually, Gir goes on a food bender, detaching the legs from the torso and cavorting about town with reckless abandon. Zim is left to track his lower half down before humanity notices. Some more.
K.C. Green covers for Trueheart and Alexovich with this issue, providing both the story and the artwork. I’m not sure if Green is taking over or if this was just a guest gig, but I wouldn’t mind if he stuck around. Because god this issue was funny.
Like the best episodes of the show, “Zim’s Bad Day” operates on the principle of a very simple situation rapidly getting out of hand before spiraling into something utterly bizarre and ridiculous. Zim’s attempts to get a loan from a bank associate whilst struggling to operate his (positively unconvincing) fat-man mech-suit are funny enough on their own and feed 9 pages with ease, but by page 10 you’ll find that the story is just warming up. An out-of-control ambulance ride segues into a Cthulhu-themed rib restaurant rampage before ultimately peaking with the grotesque beauty of live birth.
It’s very tightly scripted and well-paced and I found myself laughing out loud at both the plot and the visuals. You’ve got droll comedy, poking fun at the drudgery of dealing with financial institutions (and Jim Davis), and you’ve also got people wearing diapers so they can safely s--t themselves while gorging on cursed ribs. It works on so many levels!
I’ll cop to admitting I’m not familiar with Green’s work outside of his webcomic, the Gunshow. So when I read his name in the credit’s page, I was expecting one of those “experimental” guest comics you usually get from indie creators. Like the kind that show up in the back of IDW’s TMNT Amazing Adventures comic. The ones where the indie comics people render the characters through their own personal stylistic prism, which is neat and all, but falls far from capturing the voice and visuals of the source material.
Green doesn’t do that. While his signature is all about the issue, Green nevertheless writes the script in the voice of the Invader Zim series; this could very easily translate into an episode of the cartoon with next to no changes. Green’s art style, while very obviously his own, also makes an effort to mimic the aesthetic of the Invader Zim universe rather than re-render everyone into Gunshow-looking caricatures. You don’t see that sort of thing very often when indie comics creators do guest issues on an established title.
So yeah, for all of you curious, Oni Press’s Invader Zim is still good. Still really good, in fact. If you’re a Zim fan and you aren’t reading it yet, I just don’t get you. I just don’t GET you.