Bug! The Adventures of Forager #6 – Lee Allred, Mike Allred, Storytellers; Laura Allred, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: A suitably surreal and fantastical conclusion to the most bizarre Young Animal miniseries yet, this Fourth World-based dimension hopping epic brings Forager’s adventure to a close in style. The issue starts in a surreal board game setting, as Forager faces off against what he thinks is his arch-nemesis, the mysterious Chagra. This clone of Metron has been stalking Forager and his allies through the series, but after an initial showdown, things become a lot clearer – and it turns out that the actual villain here is Metron, who only seeks to use Chagra for his own purposes. After some surreal segments showing some of the backstory of Forager’s past, there’s an epic Kirby-esque battle between Chagra and Metron, with the heroes as bystanders.
The scale of this comic just keeps increasing throughout. Black Racer? Check. Literal life and death stakes? Check.
But what makes it work is a genuine core of human emotion inside it. When Bug faces death, you care about him because you’ve followed him on his journey. When he enters the Source Wall and meets the architect of it all, this lacks the in-jokey nature that segments like this usually have. It would have been easy to have a Kirby cameo here like Mark Waid and Mike Weiringo did in Fantastic Four (and it worked there), but the depiction here is more timeless. The ending reveals a lot about Bug’s mysterious allies, and sends him on his way to the next adventure, but not before bringing some nice closure to one of the major subplots. This is definitely the best-looking Young Animal book yet, thanks to Allred’s brilliant art, but it’s also one of the best written. An oddball book, to be sure, but it’s another modern classic in the Kirby renaissance.
Corrina: The Allreds have quietly created something very close to a masterpiece, a journey through all the corners of the DC Universe that somehow absorbs all the crazy Kirby themes and yet never loses its humanity, which was yet another hallmark of Kirby’s work–the people never got lost.
Ray calls it the most bizarre of the Young Animal books but I found it delightfully off-kilter and warm, nothing at all like the more bizarre and colder Doom Patrol, for instance. It did remind me of work by two giants of the comic industry, Grant Morrison, and Neil Gaiman. Morrison because of the reliance on concepts that a reader can ponder long after the book is written, and Gaiman because this whole story has been a search for one’s essential self, both for Bug and for Chagra. They both intensely want to exist–the difference that makes Bug a hero is that he wants to protect others and Chagra is only trying to protect himself.
It’s a terrific story that surprises, delights, and makes one think, all at the same time.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.