Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Bug! The Adventures of Forager #3 Review and **SPOILERS**


Slave to the Rhythm

Storytellers: Lee Allred & Michael Allred 
Colorist: Laura Allred 
Letterer: Nate Peikos of Blambot 
Cover By: Michael & Laura Allred 
Variant Cover By: Aaron Conley 
Cover Price: $3.99 
On Sale Date: July 12, 2017


Oh, flew in from the Kanga Rat Murder Society
Didn’t see Sandman last night
On the way Orion sat right next to me
Man, that guy is too uptight
I’m back in the Jack Kirby oeuvre
You don’t know how lucky you are, uh
Back in the
Back in the
Back in the Jack Kirby oeuvre

Explain It!

After having stepped through a portal with Kazuko and her Teddy Bear…or maybe that’s Teddy Bear and its Kazuko, Bug lands on a pile of conveniently-placed hay while Kazuko floats down gently in Bug’s shield/backpack thingy. They encounter a yak with saxophone-shaped horns, which blows a huge green loogie on Bug’s face. So they decide to set up camp for the night. Kazuko pulls a can of chili from the Teddy Bear’s stomach, and the Teddy Bear seems to know everything that will happen and why they are here—including the fact that Atlas the Great and Chagra come barreling in and destroy the camp! We already met Chagra last issue, but Atlas first appeared in 1st Issue Special #1 (cover date April 1975), a point Bug makes light of as they tussle. Bug and his crew eventually tickle Atlas’ funny bone enough so that he decides they can keep their camp, and he walks away with Chagra tucked under his arm. When the fire is re-lit, Teddy Bear explains that Chagra will steal the Orichalcum that he stole last issue in the future, so they can’t bust this Chagra for it now. Teddy Bear also reveals that it’s actually a mystical nine-tailed fox spirit god named Hu Li Jing, but somehow stuck in a stuffed animal’s body. Then Kazuko shows Bug the bottom of Teddy Bear’s foot, and sees “Hooligan, Kazuko Age 4” scrawled there, and laughs at Hooligan the Teddy Bear’s attempt to pass itself off as something it’s not. And that’s when Hooligan points out that Bug does the same thing, trying to pass himself off as a bug.
Hooligan says that when Bug died at the end of Cosmic Odyssey, Highfather made Orion take Bug back to the colony, where the other inhabitants would tear him apart and eat him. Considering all these humans going cannibal made Orion realize what Hooligan is now trying to impart to Bug: that he is not a bug. As proof, he tells Bug to look at his belly button. This proves he was born, not hatched from an egg. Then Hooligan says he should get some rest, because they’ll be running for their lives in the morning. He tells Bug the actual story of his funeral, that he was jammed up against the Source Wall like every other tool on New Genesis when they die, and Bug drifts off the sleep. The next day, they all head out on the snotty yak and trail Atlas and Chagra to a city, but they’re stopped at the border and Kazuko just Boom Tubes away, leaving Bug and Hooligan to contend with city guards. Which Bug does by leaping away from him.
He happens upon Atlas confronting the man who enslaved his parents, Hyssa, with a large gem that is the key of his clan. Atlas smashes the gem into Hyssa’s face, and then Hyssa turns into a bunch of talking snakes? They’re friendly, too; the snakes killed the slavers some time ago, and now have been wearing their skins as a warning to others. Did I drop acid while reading this comic book and forget about it? In the confusion, Atlas drops the gem and Chagra greedily lunges for it and teleports away, which is precisely the thing Bug was supposed to prevent. Kazuko conveniently Boom Tubes in and lets Hooligan and Bug escape, just as guards enter the place. They wind up at Crystal Mountain, a place where the multiverse is displayed on various facets that make up the landscape? Or something? Chagra is there, running simulations of his life that lead him to believe that he’s actually a computer program. Someone definitely slipped me some acid around page ten. Atlas is about to destroy Crystal Mountain, then Chagra slips through another Boom Tube created by Kazuko’s jury-rigged Motherbox—so Bug somehow makes it a Negative Boom Tube, and this thwarts Chagra? I think? In the end, it turns out to have been a bad thing, so you can search me for answers. You won’t find any.
I like the sly references to Jack Kirby and Bronze Age DC Comics, but this issue was nigh incomprehensible with its allegories and bizarre sequences. It really did feel like I was on some kind of drug, but it’s been so long since I took any that I can’t remember which one. The art is great, the plotting is terrific, and there’s plenty to like about this comic book. But the story is less comprehensible than the Principia Discordia, and that’s not good comics.

Bits and Pieces:

More traipsing through what feels like Bug's fever dream, orchestrated by a stuffed animal, abetted by Jack Kirby comic books. I love looking at this thing, but this shtick is wearing a little thin. While the book's story certainly moves with gusto, I don't sense that it's moving forward.


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