As a fan of both of the Toy Story movies and as someone looking forward to the third, when asked to review this book I could hardly pass up the opportunity to volunteer. It was unfortunate that although this book is labelled number #1, a substantial story is told in issue #0 – so buyers beware. However, there is a good, clear, concise summary at the beginning of the first issue to let you know where the story stands.
The story itself does not carry, as of yet, the broader themes and meaningful commentary about growing up that the movies had in them. However, the story is still developing and certainly the themes of camaraderie, of standing by ones friends no matter the cost, are echoed from the movies.
Additionally, the book is quite a bit of fun!
The writer, Jesse Blaze Snider, really has a firm grasp on the nuances of all of the characters. With the major players, such as Potato, Hamm, Rex, and Woody, they all sound like they did in the movie. You can read the dialogue and hear the voices of the actors, in your head. Most interestingly, even with the secondary characters such as Wheezy, originally voiced by the beloved late Joe Ranft, the dialogue provided by Snider captures ever little nuance.
The story itself has many of the fun elements that were present in the movies. Ridiculous plans to save their wayward (again) friend Buzz, the avoidance of the family dog, and the silliness of distracting a traffic police officer while making a getaway, make you feel the comfortable remembrances of the hours spent in the cinema and in front of home theatres. Finally, there is a quirky tongue and cheek humour to the book, where you can tell that while there is great respect for the tradition of Toy Story, the writer does not take it so seriously as to remove the fun elements. I actually got funny looks while reading this on the bus and chuckling out loud at Slinky telling his hindquarters, “You! In the rear! Hurry up!”
The action in script is translated well by Nathan Watson with movement and story beats feeling very accurate considering we are dealing with a bunch of plastic toys. The over-exaggerated positioning of Woody’s arms and legs, the stiltedness of Bo Peep, and the limited positioning of Rocky’s arms and legs, are all translated very well. The colours are a touch muted for my taste, but that may be an intentional choice. One interesting evolution I have not seen previously was the outlining of white speech bubbles with colour. This is vastly preferable to the current trend of monologues that have specific font colours, fonts and transitioned backgrounds that some readers, such as myself, can find very hard to read.
Overall, I am most impressed with this outing of Toy Story as a comic book. I was sceptical if it would transition from celluloid to floppy page, but I must admit, I enjoyed it quite a bit. I look forward to seeing how Buzz gets rescued (again).
What did you think of this book?
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