The Midas Flesh #2
Created & Written by Ryan North
Illustrated by Shelli Paroline & Braden Lamb
Lettered by Steve Wands
Review: Josh RyeFleur
Reviewing comic books is clearly more of an art than a science. As such RWG’s staff of reviewers will from time-to-time have differences on opinion when it comes to looking at new series – but we generally defer to one another when it comes time to write a review. Instead of posting multiple contradictory reviews on the same day our policy is to give the next issue to another reviewer who can share a different opinion. This was the case for The Midas Flesh so please consider this review another take on that series!
I’m a fan of Ryan North’s work on Adventure Time and was very excited to hear he was launching a new series with Boom! Box. While we did not give a particularly glowing review of The Midas Flesh #1 I’d be remiss not to take it upon myself to examine the book from another perspective and share with you why this series may be one of the most inventive coming out this year. With original character designs, a thrilling sci-fi setting that somehow mixes in Greek mythology, and a story that feels completely original, The Midas Flesh is one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read in quite some time!
Story: The Midas Flesh follows the story of three young space explorers investigating a forbidden planet called ‘Earth’ where both the surface and inhabitants have all mysteriously turned to gold. The crew consists of Captain Joey, Navigation Officer Fatima, and Science Officer Cooper – who just happens to be a talking dinosaur. Issue one explored some of the backstory of this strange planet where it is revealed (with a nice bit of dramatic irony) that Earth was once inhabited by King Midas whose innocent wish to have ‘all he touched turn to gold’ resulted in the death of the planet. Issue two takes the exploration of the surface a bit further as the crew tests the limits of the transmutation properties of Earth and discover the shocking cause gold plague. Meanwhile the evil Federation (of course there’s always an evil Federation) realizes that someone has breached the forbidden zone and sends out a crew of soldiers to eliminate them.
Ryan North is a great storyteller who can convey a lot of information while making the entire thing feel simple. The atmosphere he creates blends so many different influences yet it all seems to work without falling apart. His characters speak rather conversationally and while that may distract readers who are looking for a more serious tone, this casual writing style keeps the story from getting too dark even when there are flashbacks to more tragic moments. He’s managed to succeed in making a talking dinosaur seems normal and in fact brought a small tear to my eye during a particularly heartbreaking flashback to Cooper’s doomed home planet. The Midas Flesh is pure swashbuckling sci-fi and conveys that same sense of adventure and good humor that makes North’s work on Adventure Time so much fun. This series dials back the silliness enough to tell a real story that continues from issue to issue and I am pretty excited to see where things go next. Story Score: 10 out of 10.
Art: Boom! Box has paired up Ryan North with an artist team who also really fits the tone and style of the book. Shelli Paroline & Bradon Lamb have created a universe that looks simultaneously futuristic yet simplistic. It’s clearly inspired by classic animation and that’s part of what makes such a variety of diverse characters on the page work together so well. When you have a dinosaur standing in a spaceship you need to fudge some of the detail so things look less jarring. Another really cool art aspect of this book is the color palette which seems to be largely a set of deep orange and pale green hues. The book just feels like something new and that’s pretty refreshing considering how often sci-fi tales can become derivative of one another. It’s fun and easy to digest and the art manages to convey a lot without getting bogged down in details. It has a look and a feel that could easily translate into an kid’s movie and I’d be fine giving this book to a younger reader who is looking for a more mature-story without worrying about anything obscene sneaking into the panels. Finally I’m incredibly impressed with John Keogh’s cover art so far and I found myself searching out more of his work to see what else he’s done. Boom! is really stepping up it’s game in bringing in artists who can give readers something fresh and original. Art score: 9 out of 10.
This is a cool little gem of a comic that shouldn’t pass under your radar. Boom! Box is clearly geared towards younger readers but this is a fun all-ages book that has elements of classic storytelling mixed with some new ideas. If you like sci-fi and adventure comics you will definitely enjoy this book! Overall: 9.5 out of 10.