[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
It’s Halloween, and the children are crowding outside Zim’s house in search of candy. The candy seems to have some kind of powerful mind-controlling effect on the human children, and Zim must know what the source of this power is. After warding off the rabid kids, he finds the address of a candy manufacturer, and Zim and Gir leave for this candy factory. Inside waits a tribe of rabid kids that have made this defunct factory their home, and Zim must battle his way through them if will ever learn the secret of the candy.
Invader Zim #36 presents the reader with a Halloween issue that understands the Invader Zim humor and story structure very well. Zim observes a human phenomenon, seeks a poorly understand origin for it, and then tries to use it as a means to conquer Earth.
The pacing is quick, the jokes come fast, and Gir is ever the monkey wrench in all of Zim’s plans. The trick is to have Gir make somewhat innocent problems for Zim without making him an outright antagonist, and Tait Howard and Matthew Seely manage to strike that balance very well here.
The secret of the factory is both funny and macabre. You get the impression that this will be some kind of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory type of setup, but it quickly turns into Lord of the Flies guest-starring a candy manufacturer that is somewhere between Dr. Frankenstein and a meth cook.
Howard and Seely’s artwork takes the classic Invader Zim look and adds their own flavor to the style. There is a bit more texture, Zim is expressive in different ways, and his eyes almost look cute in a more circular shape with slight wrinkles in the skin around them. There are also numerous clever and gorgeous two-page spreads tracking Zim and Gir’s progress through the factory.
The color work is a little more restrained and less all-over-the-place (if only slightly) than the previous issues of the comic and the show itself, and that adds a nice small change to the atmosphere, too. I’m not going to say it’s in any way inherently better than the traditional style and color palette, but it is a good change nonetheless.
Invader Zim #36 is a wonderfully entertaining Halloween-themed installment for our favorite Irkan Invader. He takes on a horde of ravenous children, a collapsing and dessicated factory, and the secret of candy itself. The story is fun, the art is wonderful, and the overall book is worth a recommendation. Check it out.
Invader Zim #36 comes to us from writers, artists, and color artists Tait Howard and Matthew Seely, letterer Warren Wucinich, cover artists Tait Howard and Matthew Seely, and variant cover artist Jeff Sornig.