After Fry accidentally blows up a planet-sized restaurant, he and the crew of Planetary Express are remanded to work as burger flippers on another of the franchise’s planetoids. I have to admit, I’ve never seen anything quite like this issue of Futurama before. Even the late, great Douglas Adams didn’t imagine the time traveling Miliways as anything but a normal sized restaurant. Ian Boothby goes science fiction big, and his highly novel and imaginative concept earns Futurama a fifth bullet.
Boothby is in excellent form. His jokes are sharp, and his plot, which takes a mystery twist I didn’t see coming is nothing short of perfect. Bender’s “boned” comment had me laughing a good ten minutes. The way in which Fry dopes out a way to cheat and cut corners works beautifully within the conceit of the plot. There’s also actual science at work in an inspired twist.
The sidetrack into illegal downloading makes sense and functions as a terrific, funny B-story filled with pop culture sight gags that Mikes Kazaleh and Rote and colorist Allan Hellard deliver with aplomb. The artists also design a monstrous polyglot of corporate mascots. This character is as grotesque as the original Joker. Furthermore, they add odd incidental aliens that mimic the vision of Matt Groening: Topps Mars Attacks by way of cheaply animated cartoons from the sixties.
Ray Tate’s first online work appeared in 1994 for Knotted. He has had a short story, “Spider Without a Web,” published in 1995 for the magazine evernight and earned a degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1995, Ray self-published The Pick of the Brown Bag on various usenet groups. In the POBB, as it was affectionately known, Ray reviewed comic books, Doctor Who novels, movies and occasionally music. Circa 2000, he contributed his reviews to Silver Bullet Comic Books (later Comics Bulletin) and became its senior reviewer. Ray Tate would like to think that he’s young at heart. Of course, we all know better.