Another guest review by Ethan!
Tying into an episode of the Fresh Off The Boat television series airing in May, this Free Comic Book Day special reveals the characters created by Eddie and Emery for a comic book contest on the television show!
What I first Thought:
I’ve never seen an episode of Fresh Off The Boat before, so I’m not familiar with that aspect of this story. However, I loved writer Gene Luen Yang’s Shadow Hero graphic novel, so I was really interested in reading more from him. The Jack Kirby-esque cover of the issue also didn’t hurt.
With TV tie-ins, there’s always a debate about how to handle the likenesses of real people. Jorge Corona opts to go the cartoony route for this issue, which I feel was the right way to go given the overall comedic tone of the story. His page compositions are pretty solid, and he does a nice job of making each character look suitably unique, while still keeping enough common traits between the characters to remind you that they’re a family. The art is very clean, and super easy to follow, and all of the characters are fluid in their motion. There’s a lot going on in each panel, but the art is laid out in such a way as to draw the viewers eye to the proper focus every time, showing great care in the construction of the craft.
It’s possible I might have gotten a little more out of this issue if I’d seen any of the show. There seem to be some bits that are picking up on prior material, and the characters are sort of just thrown into the story without a whole ton of introduction. That being said, it’s a family that get’s super powers, and they generally follow the basic sitcom family tropes. Not super hard to follow or connect with them. The story is clearly crafted to follow up on the show’s episode “Pie vs. Cake,” as explained by the first page of the comic. Eddie Huang (who is nominally the comic’s main character) informs us of his brother Emery’s comic, which re-invisions the family as a team of super heroes. Shortly thereafter, the real life Huangs discover they have powers just like their comic-counterparts. We then get a few of their exploits as heroes, and discover the (more than a little tongue-in-cheek) origin of their powers, all wrapping up in a big, goofy comic-book battle with a giant monster. Most of the family members gets a moment of focus to showcase their abilities, which range from standard issue (The Persuader’s hypnotism) to rather unique (Lazy Boy’s “channel changing”). The only one left out is Evan/Blazer Boy, who doesn’t seem to really have any abilities of his own, and mostly just hangs around his mother. Once again, I’m not sure if this is a show thing or what. It struck me as slightly odd, but not enough to ruin the issue. The dialogue is generally pretty solidly crafted; they talk more or less like real people would, and many of the characters have their own tics and gags. I was particularly amused by the lampshading of a few of the stereotypes that Asian comic characters are frequently saddled with. The issue ends in a rather open-ended fashion, which could potentially lead to additional stories, and I wouldn’t be opposed to such a prospect.
Title: Fresh Off The Boat Presents: Legion of Dope-Itude Featuring Lazy Boy
Issue: Free Comic Book Day
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Writer: Gene Luen Yang
Art: Jorge Corona
Colors: Jeremy Lawson
Letters: Jim Campbell
Release Date: May 6, 2017
Genre: Super Heroes, Action-Adventure, Comedy, Television