A Tater-Tot Return: Napoleon Dynamite #1 Reviewed

by Josh Davison

[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
We return to Preston, Idaho and the high school of Napoleon Dynamite, Pedro Sanchez, and Deb Bradshaw. It’s well into their senior year, and Napoleon has to decide what he’s going to do with his life. He has plenty of ideas, but they all involve hunting mythical animals or freeing the aliens at Area 51. He’s starting a new self-defense class, and things are going well with Deb. All in all, Napoleon’s life is going pretty great. However, things are shaken up when Pedro’s student body president election is called into question, and there’s a potential that he could be impeached. Plus, a member member of the Preston city council died recently, and a pair of podcasters who are staying in Kip’ old room believe that it was really a murder.

Napoleon Dynamite #1 cover by Sara Richard
Napoleon Dynamite #1 cover by Sara Richard

Napoleon Dynamite #1 brings us back to the 2004 cult classic that brought audiences into the life of strange teenager Napoleon Dynamite. It’s an unexpected and slightly odd revival on the part of IDW Publishing, but there have been stranger comic revivals (I’m pretty sure).
Napoleon Dynamite is an especially strange film choice, as there wasn’t a lot of intrigue, drama, or supernatural occurrence to draw upon for a comic book story. The Napoleon Dynamite comic does find some drama upon which to hinge the comic story, but it’s couched in a lot of text.
The Napoleon Dynamite film was a comedy and mostly a “slice-of-life” movie, and that is, by nature, going to hinge a lot upon dialogue. Unfortunately, that leaves the comic somewhat exasperating to read. Plus, the dialogue isn’t often all-that entertaining in the book. The Napoleon Dynamite movie was supported by the off-beat performance of the actors. You don’t get that in the comic adaptation, and that flattens the book a bit.
What does stand out, however, is the artwork of Jorge Monlongo. He provides a caricature depiction of all the residents of Preston. It allows for ample expression and memorable figures. The color work bright and almost faded in spots, and that gives the book a very unique and off-beat personality.
Napoleon Dynamite #1 is a fairly unexciting revival of the 2004 film. While there are some charming moments and good lines, the comic’s pacing is far too slow. Not enough of the plot sparks interest, even while the artwork gives a wonderful visual identity fitting for an adaptation of this particular film. That side, I can’t quite recommend this one.
Napoleon Dynamite #1 comes to us from writers Carlos Guzman-Verdugo and Alejandro Verdugo, artist Jorge Monlongo, letterer Christa Miesner, cover artist Sara Richard and variant cover artists Sara Richard and Jorge Monlongo.
Final Score: 5/10

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