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Futurama Comics #29

Posted: Saturday, January 27, 2007
By: Ray Tate



"Downsized!"

Writer: Ian Boothby
Artists: Mike Kazaleh(p), Andrew Pepoy(i), Nathan Hamill(c)
Publisher: Bongo

The moral of this story is people who live in glass bottles shouldn't hurl destructive missiles. The Professor sends Leela, Fry and Bender into a Kandor-like environment to deliver a bottle of glass cleaner to the tiny people. As with any episode of the series or issue from the comic book, things go wrong quickly.

The soon to be returning television series Futurama always maintained a cautious relationship with physics. For instance, though the ships in the show travel incredibly fast, they do not break the faster than light barrier. The Planetary Express ship and presumably the other armadas seen in the show stay still. The universe speeds around the ships. The universe moves.

Ian Boothby glosses over the way in which the Professor shrinks Fry, Leela and Bender, but in a way it's almost Einsteinian. He does not do as Asimov once did in the printed sequel to Fantastic Voyage shrink Planck's Constant. Boothby instead uses perception and traditional cartoon laws to perform the deed. It's very in keeping with the theme of the show. Respect science, but respect humor even more.

Once in the bottled city, the group become distracted by Bender being distracted by a party--Recycling Day. So begins Boothby's raiding of the sci-fi movie closet. Recycling Day bones our intrepid duo. Bender being a robot once again escapes the intended fate of his friends. Boothby in this scene upends Futurama convention. Traditionally Fry gets the group in peril, but this time Leela serves as the catalyst.

The book could have ended with Leela's nifty save, but Boothby finds a way to stretch the story through Bender's larcenous ways. Admittedly, the reason is weak but it does allow for some fun scenes and the Big Threat coming from little people.

Mike Kazaleh and Andrew Pepoy must be commended for their sense of scale. Needless to say, such an understanding comes in handy for a story dealing with miniaturization. Their visual comprehension of the characters is perfect. They capture the doddering brilliance of Farnsworth, Leela's kickboxing, Fry's perpetual optimism, Bender's gamut of expression and Amy's clumsiness.

The story doesn't provide much in the way of aliens. So the artists must create miniature distinctions of humanity still in the Matt Groening design. These new additions to the teeming universe of Futurama Comics are each unique.

Nathan Hamill as usual exhausts his "crayon" box. However, Bongo's change in paper-stock makes the usual vividness of the hues look somewhat faded. This is especially true with regard to the flesh tones.



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