Futurama Comics #11
Title: The Cure for the Common Clod
Writer: Patric M. Verrone
Art: Tom King, Phyllis Novin, Joey Mason, Karen Bates
The eleventh issue of Futurama comics is in my grubby hands, and I have studied it with my eyes. This one offers a nice surprise too, in that we have a new writer in the Futurama Comics world that Eric Rogers has dominated so far to varying degrees of success. Not only that, but this writer comes from the actual show itself, and is none other than Emmy Nominated scribe Patric M. Verrone, probably known best for the immensely popular episode The Sting. Will he repeat his success in the comics world? Read on to find out.
An interesting synopsis this one, and handled in a rather original way too. Fry gets the old 20th Century disease of influenza, otherwise known as the common cold. Unfortunately, it isn't quite as common as it once was. After being put into Bubble Boy style containment, it turns out Leela, Hermes and Amy have picked it up too. But if effects the populace of the 31st Century a lot differently, making them all revert to primal tendencies. The Professor, Bender and Zoidberg, whom are all immune to the effects of it, race around trying to get the others contained before more get infected.
The story is admittedly very impressive. In fact, not since Futurama Comics #4 has a story impressed me this much. Patric M. Verrone brings all his skills with him from the show to Bongo Comics to produce an insanely great story from start to finish, with the whole thing feeling like something straight from the show. After a disappointing last issue, it's good to see some fresh life in a comic story again, because this has everything: a great idea, brilliantly executed in a fantastical futuristic romp. The premise is neat and very Star Trek-ish, yet is handled in typical Groening styled fashion, with twists and odd surprises about right through.
Characterisation is nicely handled, with a firm grip on everybody featured and their quirks and traits and all used brilliantly and never wasted. It's hard to say if any one character really shines because everybody is just so well written... Fry, Leela, Bender, the Professor... all of them. Patric proves that he knows these characters like the back of his hand. Everybody gets a little bit of the plot for themselves at least at some point, and each have several great lines at least.
Speaking of great lines, this comic is overall filled with them. Not just hilarious lines, but hilarious moments. I seriously don't think there's been a funnier comic yet... it's up there with the show, it really is. The lines could have come straight from it, and a lot of it comes from great character humour. I'll try not to spoil too many moments for readers, but highlights include the Professor holding up a urine sample of Fry's that looks like blood (to which Zoidberg asks "what's the difference?"), the primal antics of those affected by the flu, Amy's sorority lingerie party that is supposedly dull, Farnsworth's solution to the plague using a doomsday device and a great two-page spread showing all of NNYC under the flu's effects. There's far more, and I could give specifics, but it's best you pick this up and find the gems yourself.
Finally, the art is nicely done too. Very busy and pretty, like it should be. I know I've often cited John Delaney as the artist who brings down the visual quality of some issues, and lo and behold when he's not working on it, the art is better. It's not perfect, there's the odd effort and rough bits (most notably on the two-page spread), but it's very nicely done overall. Character expressions are great for their situations, great angles are utilised and some neat affects are put into motion for several complicated actions. The whole thing does smack of class, and I'm very glad that this great story didn't suffer in the art department, because it would have been a shame. Well done and kudos to the artists.
Overall, a great issue. Probably the most hilarious yet, with fantastic jokes wrapped around a great story that's smart and inventive, topped off with some great art and character moments. This is what a good Futurama Comic is all about, and I strongly suggest that you pick up this issue if you can and give it a read... you won't be disappointed. Full credit to writer Patric for making this as sharp, witty and brilliant as the show can be. Nicely done.
Most Memorable Moment: Leela stripping off to go into her primal state... not for the visuals, but for the great jokes at Fry's expense following it (ZOIDBERG: You mean Leela's innermost desire is to get naked with animals? FRY: I'm an animal!). And then later Bender telling her parents about it too.
Worst Moment: Nothing really. It's all good.
- Kenneth White