Futurama Comics #7
Title: New Year's Rockin' Evil
Writer: Eric Rogers
Art: John Delaney, Phyllis Novin
The seveth issue of the Futurama Comics is out, and appropriately after the last Xmas issue, we have one based around New Year's. Not only that, but there's a good amount of focus on the What-If? Machine from the two Anthology of Interest episodes of the show. Now, I ask the machine... "What if I reviewed this issue for TLZ?"
The whole thing starts off well enough, in what seems like a typical NNYC New Years celebration. After a cameo from Nick Clark (the great, great, great, etc grandson of Dick Clark's Head.) there is a power outage, thanks to the Professor's New Year's ball that takes up too much power. To pass the time, the crew decide to look at the What-If? Machine, although only one question is asked this time... with Bender posing what would happen if he travelled back to 1999. This is where the main focus of the story begins.
Things are quite interesting from here. The whole thing is actually supposed to a parody of Terminator 2, with Fry taking the John Connor style role and Bender and Leela taking the roles of the two terminators. But it actually seems to resemble the more recent T3 instead, perhaps because Leela, being a female, comes across a little like the TX.
In either case, things are done quite nicely, mixing the story of Fry's life at the end of 1999 with the Terminator style plot, as well as a bit of originality too. There are some nice surprises along the way, with cameos from Mr. Panucci and Michelle (no sign of Seymour though.) and a few extra bits regarding Fry's moments earlier in the day of December 31st. There's the odd twist here and there, and, yes, for the male fans, there's Leela naked and dressed in leather. Overall, the plot is a fairly neat parody, with enough Futurama-isms and original plot devices to keep it from being tired or hackeneyed. Also, the characters fit their roles well, ebing well in-character, even with the What-If presmise of it all.
The humour side is well-catered for too, and while not absolutely hilarious, there's enough clever one-liners and witty conversation pieces to give a fair amount of chuckles. The humour can be a little risque at times, but not overly so, which is nice and in-keeping with Futurama's style. We have references to hookers, Fry's well-known... uh... self-indulgence, lap dancers, and, as I said before, a naked Leela. Add to that some nice lines from Fry and Bender, and we have a reasonably funny story.
Then comes the comic's one major flaw: the art. While the Futurama issues so far have been pretty damn good, this one is quite poor. A lot of off-model characters and overly thick lines, combined with some poorly drawn proportions, make for a very below par standard of art here. It sadly reminds me of the art of the newer Simpsons Comics, and I certainly hope this trend doesn't stay. Sometimes it's not too bad, with several panels looking pretty good, but the quality is inconsitent and distracting. Sure, the angles and perspective are quite nice, with some nice shading and lighting effects (I paricuarly like the way the blackout was portrayed.), and the basic layout and flow is okay too. But this doesn't detract from the off-putting, off-model inconsistencies of the overall product, it just stops it getting a nasty 2 out of 5 or less. Definitely the worst issue art-wise, and I pray that the next issue returns to the standard set by the other issues.
Overall, a good issue, but not great. The story is interesting and quite funny, but it's not really outstanding. Most of the other issues are better thus far, both in story and laughs, and the art is a major flaw that's really hard to overlook. I'd recommend it for fans of the Terminator movies and of the show in general, but I'd recommend most other issues a lot more.
Most Memorable Moment: Leela's introduction into the parody :D
Worst Moment: Not really a moment, but just the art overall.
- Kenneth White