Sometimes Bart Simpson Comics scribe Tony Digerolamo returns for two stories. The first entitled "Fort Knocks" makes use of actual child-like behavior. The plot revolves around an empty refrigerator box. It's an odd mcguffin to say the least.
Digerolamo characterize Bart and Millhouse as typical kids. He brings in the Simpsons style when everybody's favorite Springfield bullies Jimbo, Dolph and Carney terrorizes them out of their prize. This of course means war, and Bart and Millhouse team-up to instill a plausible comeuppance. Alas, a punchline gives them a hollow victory at best.
Digerolamo in his next tale "A Load of Trouble" spotlights Lisa. Here, Digerolamo cleverly balances Lisa's genius with her immaturity. The plot's sublime and makes sense. The finale works on a number of levels. It's amusing. It actually saves face for the family. It also gibes with the unusual color schemes that serve as The Simpsons signature look.
Mary Trainor contributes "The Uter Bomber." The title's brilliant play on words cannot even hint at a plot consisting of Bart's employment of a seesaw, a number of water balloons and everybody's favorite displaced German Uter. Bart's aims exhibit his typical mischievous behavior, and Trainor wisely finds a way for Lisa to outwit her sibling.
Clay and Susan Griffith's "Signs of Intelligent Life" has Bart teaching an impressionable alien about fun. This leads to some excellently crafted pranks well within Bart's capabilities. The targets are unusual and often spotlight third tier characters. The finale gives a nod to one of the best science fiction movies ever made. So, I have no complaints.
I doubt art for the Simpsons ever can be considered a chore. Carlos Valenti, Phyllis Novin, Nathan Hamil, James Lloyd, Mike Rote, Art Villanueva, Phil Oritz and Mike DeCarlo all convey their excitement toward their work onto the pages. Each story adheres to the model of recognizable silhouettes. The illusion of animation through the panels fluidly compliments the words, and the visual timing for the jokes is impeccable.
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