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Futurama Comics #44

Posted: Friday, July 24, 2009
By: Ray Tate

Ian Boothby
James Lloyd(p), Andrew Pepoy(i), Nathan Hamill(c)
Bongo
"The Fry and the Furious"

Fry and Zap Brannigan challenge each other to a Space Race. Along the way, every high-speed convention gets a sound thrashing, and various scifi cameos rev the story's engine.

Boothby is on the top of his game for this issue of Futurama Comics. He displays his deep understanding of Futurama's style and the cast. Throughout the book, he allows Zap Brannigan to expel hot air and Fry to get madder and madder until the time lost delivery boy's backed into a corner. Bender's along for the mayhem, while Leela re-awakens from cryosleep just in the nick of time to pull the Planetary Express Crew's fat out of the fire. In short, this is a formulaic issue of Futurama.

Calling something formulaic is usually insulting. Not so in this case. Futurama's formula is inventive and can evolve new scenarios with each step or ingredient. For example, a throwaway gag puts the dreaded alien Facehuggers in their places. The way Lloyd stages the scene suggests the threat of the creature, but in the next panel, he dispels the suspense with a humorous bit of slapstick. Andrew Pepoy's precise inks facilitate a three-dimensional illusion by utilizing various line weights, and Nathan Hamill's cosmic colors beautify this mere funny book.

Despite the comedy trappings, Boothby's tale works equally well as speculative fiction. The conclusion to the story addresses several logical considerations that would arise given the setting, and the rescue depends upon the physics of the situation.

The science fiction pulps of the thirties and forties posited spaceship races on their covers. Diane Carey wrote a Star Trek novel about one, and the Doctor Who episode "Enlightenment" explored the premise. Boothby's starship race is more like Hanna-Barbera's anything goes Wacky Races. Fry though makes a poor substitute for Penelope Pitstop. Bender however makes for an excellent Dick Dastardly.



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