Pedro’s Feeling His Oats In Napoleon Dynamite #2

by Brendan M. Allen

“Impeach Pedro,” Part 2! Napoleon Dynamite faces a tough challenge: with his best friend accused of rigging the student election, can he prove Pedro’s innocence and turn public opinion in their favor? Or will he only make things worse by blaming the mole men for everything?

 

Napoleon Dynamite #2 opens up with… a murder investigation? Some city councilman kicked over, and there’s an investigative journalism team on campus grilling kids for some reason … about some low level politician’s demise.

Then we pop right back into the issue at hand, that weird election box stuffing scandal that Pedro’s found himself in. And there’s also some new blood feud between Sensei Rex of Rex Kwon Do and some new guy who opened up right across the street, Sensei Montana.

In the first chapter, series writers Carlos Guzman-Verdugo and Alejandro Verdugo revisited a LOT of the gags from the 2004 film. This installment, not so much. I’m actually a little (a lot) confused. I seriously don’t understand what any of this has to do with anything. The murder investigation is way out of left field. The fake karate masters having a pissing contest… Even the core issue, the election thing, is very strange.

One of the things that sold the movie back in 2004 was the main characters’ naïveté, their blind innocence. Pedro is kind of a dick in this book. He hides behind his cousins’ massive frames, and loses his cool several times. This isn’t the weird, socially stunted goofball we grew to love. This kid is suddenly talking about executive orders and ejecting kids from press conferences. It’s an odd leap. At one point, Napoleon even grabs a smaller kid by the shirt and starts screaming in his face. In what world…?

Jorge Monlongo pulls art and color duties. I mentioned in my review of chapter one, it’s a bit of an odd fit. Character designs are VERY caricatured. There are passing resemblances for a few of the core characters, but some are barely recognizable. There’s a little bit of Jon Heder in Monlongo’s Napoleon, and Pedro looks a bit like Efren Ramirez. Rico, Lyle, Deb, Kip, Lafawnduh… not so much. 

There are also those disembodied heads. So many. And the severed arms with too many elbows. And gravity defying floating buildings. I think they might have been shooting for some of the whimsy of Napoleon’s sketches from the film? It just doesn’t land.

If you loved the film, you’d probably enjoy the first chapter in this series, and if you stretch the nostalgia really thin, maybe even this second installment. This series clearly isn’t written for me and I’m having a really hard time figuring out who the target audience actually is. 

I was in my early twenties when the film hit. I realize I was toward the higher end of the target market, but if you count all the folks who saw this film for the first time in high school, they’re all in their mid thirties now. The nostalgia isn’t strong enough to draw people my age in, and the callbacks make no sense to the current generation of kids, teens, and twenty somethings. Try as I may, I can’t see where this one fits.

Napoleon Dynamite #2, IDW Publishing, 04 December 2019. Written by Carlos Guzman-Verdugo and Alejandro Verdugo, art and color by Jorge Monlongo, design and letters by Christa Miesner, edited by Tom Waltz assisted by Megan Brown.

Brendan M. Allen

Brendan Allen has probably had more jobs than you would reasonably believe. Dog trainer? He’s done it. Flooring contractor? You bet! EMT? Army NBC specialist? Road dog for a Celtic rock band? Yes, yes, and och aye! Now he reads comics and writes about them. It's a rough gig. You can follow Brendan on Twitter @SaintAmish where he tweets about comic books and cystic fibrosis awareness.

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