Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Bug! The Adventures of Forager #4 Review and **SPOILERS**


Welcome Boston Bland

Storytellers: Lee Allred & Michael Allred 
Colorist: Laura Allred 
Letterer: Nate Peikos of Blambot 
Back-Up By: James Harvey 
Cover By: Michael & Laura Allred 
Cover Price: $3.99 
On Sale Date: September 20, 2017


Well, I’ll be…I’ll be honest, folks, I wasn’t sure we’d ever see this issue. Maybe in a forthcoming trade collection, but I’ve been burned too many times by truncated comic book runs and series to have much faith. But here it is, the new issue of Bug! The Adventures of Forager, ready for buying and reading! Is it worth the purchase and perusal? Well…you can review my review, and maybe get an inkling!

Explain It!

I think, perhaps, the fault has been mine; in an attempt to discern what this series is “about,” at times an homage to Jack Kirby and at other times a third-rate esoteric Promethea, I have not allowed myself to fully see this comic for what it is. Having taken this into consideration, I engaged this issue of Bug! The Adventures of Forager as clear of baggage as possible. And now, I think I can see what this book is all about: a disordered conflation of bygone DC Comics’ properties and unknowable situations with barely any discernable premise. It’s a mystery that becomes more confusing as it unravels, thereby offering diminishing returns. It may come to a unifying conclusion, but after an issue like think I am hard-pressed to think it will be satisfying.
After a bizarre but contrived sequence that takes Team Bug through Sandman’s headquarters, then to an alternate dimension with Deadman’s Silver Age girlfriend Tatsinda, and finally to Deadman himself, battling members of Kobra in classic “turtle cap” costumes somewhere in the world. Somehow, the Forever People outfitted Deadman with a robotic body that traps his ghost form, which is sensible enough for this crazy story. This eventually leads them to another story element from when Deadman was the back-up to Aquaman, the Cult of the Shan, who can track down Chagra before he gets the Omphalos and then…something happens. Something bad. I forget what it was, but this is why Bug and a teddy bear and a creepy little girl are traversing time and space. It’s easy to forget that little plot point, since it makes no sense.
So upon visiting the Grand Lodge of the Shan, they find that this clan of manhunters has the actual Manhunter, Paul Kirk—plus they have special information about the guy that killed Boston Brand, who was Deadman in his previous…er, life. The Manhunter takes everyone to a warehouse, where a crime boss named Hog, who is like a gross pile of flesh with eight robotic arms yet isn’t Doctor Octopus, is going to show off the Omphalos to a crowd of people that presumably care about this sort of thing. Turns out the Omphalos can turn anything into pigs or something? After a big scuffle, Deadman’s robot body gets turned into a pig, so his ghost form can finally float into Hog and make him beat his own head with this mechanical appendages, and then Chagra makes off with the Omphalos anyway. Oh well! On to the next issue, when they’ll probably be hanging out with the Maniaks or Stanley and His Monster or something.
The back-up has a great look, but there’s an “experimental layout” on one page that makes all of it nigh unreadable. But that didn’t detract from the fact that the main story is a real disappointment. Perhaps the wait between issues has deadened my enthusiasm, but this issue was a lot of rhetorical yammering and pseudo-meaningful exchanges about dominoes and comic book nostalgia. In the beginning, Bug coats his busted Mother Box with some kind of secreted cocoon, so I’m sure that will be an important thing by the end of this series. Though there’s so much crap going on all the time, who knows what will be and will not be important when all is said and done?

Bits and Pieces:

We return to the complicated adventures of Bug after two-month hiatus, and it doesn't feel welcoming. This series is increasingly difficult to grasp as the Allreds pull more minutae from the weathered longboxes of their childhood. They could have published a list of hard-to-find comic books and saved everyone the trouble of reading this.


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