Invader Zim #1
Writer: Jhonen Vasquez
Pencils: Aaron Alexovich
Inks: Megan Lawton
Colors: Simon Troussellier
Letters: Warren Wucinick
In the past many series have had successful comic adaptations and relaunches. Big Trouble in Little China, Buffy, Gem and the Holograms, Bill & Ted... all of these have continued or reinvented their source material very successfully, and now we find Invader Zim getting that same treatment. For those who have been living under rocks, didn't watch cartoons in the early 2000s, or have never been in a Hot Topic, Invader Zim chronicles the adventures of an alien that wishes to conquer earth with his robot and his arch nemesis, Dib, who tries to stop them. Sounds fun right? It is! The series is written by Jhonen Vasquez who originally created the cartoon and was kind of a big shot at Slave Labor Graphics for Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, Squee, the lesser known I Feel Sick, and his strangely engaging comic journal Jellyfist. Really peculiar, yet enjoyable stuff, all oozing (almost literally in some cases) originality. Aaron Alexovich, the artist on this book, has many works that fall into that same ilk, having contributed to titles such as Haunted Mansion, Edward Scizzorhands, and Fables. He also has some pretty cool creator owned work including Serenity Rose and Eldritch (check out the first issue here).
What's the story here? After years of not appearing Zim and his robot, GIR, have returned to wreak havoc on Earth and pester there opponent, Dib. In that time Dib has been watching and waiting for the re-emergence of the alien by waiting and watching his residence. Thus being the case... he has really let himself go. So while he is working out and getting back in shape... perhaps TOO in shape... Zim is trying to locate a weapon of massive power known as the Gargantic Array in hopes of finally conquering Earth.
Vasquez brings these characters back to life with almost the exact same voices they had on the cartoon. I say almost because if anything he has made them even funnier than they were before. The book is hilarious and WILL have you in stitches before you know it. The competitive dialogue between Dib and Zim is every present, with both feeling like they have the upper hand over the other. Whereas the friendly conversation between Zim and GIR shows off their friendship while still showing how little Zim respects the tiny robot. Look, there isn't a ton to say. It reads just like an episode of the show. IF you have never seen the show then no fear! This series doesn't require much additional backstory and what you do need to know is told in the beginning of the book by Recap Kid!
Not only is the voice the same, but those who loved the series' aesthetic will not be disappointed. Alexovich brings the strange industrial suburbia back to the forefront and doesn't skimp on the grimy imagery. The biggest change in appearance is in the out of shape Dib who just looks... gross. Seriously, if at some point this series introduced some truly nasty creatures, I have no doubt that Alexovich would be up to the task. We also get to see some aliens other than Zim, all looking somewhat out of place in this dark world and adding to the story. Probably most important to the style of this series are the exaggerated facial expressions. Some of the most hilarious moments in the cartoon revolved around the cast members going completely bonkers and that has translated to this comic exceptionally well. Of course adding to the experience are the inks and colors from Lawton and Trousselier, further cementing with the dark purple color scheme that this is the world we have come to know and love (and that new folks will love as well).
Invader Zim is back... and I couldn't be happier with his grand reappearance. Oni Press brought a cartoon back into the lives of the fans and with Vasquez and Alexovich at the helm it is bound to be a hilarious, ridiculous, out of this world ride! Oh also, wanted to mention this because it's a nice touch, this issue even has the original cast list. That a sign of respect that I personally think is just great. The first issue came out on July 8th for $3.99.