Weird Science: Missing Linx and Uncle Silas: Genetison March 10th, 2011 at 8:30 pm
Ah, science. Some comics are pretty picky about the laws of physics and biology, but let’s face it — a lot of them aren’t, particularly those involving superheroes or epic battles between good guys and bad guys. These two kid-friendly comics fall into that category: they both play around with some pseudo-science, but they’re mostly an excuse to have some weird fun.
Missing Linx, a slim graphic novel written by Dale Mettam with art by Courtney Huddleston, is a pretty fun action-adventure comic starring a very big quartet. You’ve probably heard of them: Big Foot, Sasquatch, Yeti and Skunk Ape. It turns out that they were brought over into our world from the Mythical Dimension by Erasmus Q. Bedfellow, an evil semi-genius with a soft spot for “Titanic.” Of course, they were supposed to help him wreak havoc and take over the world, but they turned out to have morals. So now Bedfellow brings over a slew of other mythical monsters — Cyclops, a fire-breathing Hydra, a Manticore — to do his bidding, and the four primate powerhouses work to foil his plans.
It’s a very silly premise, but Mettam and Huddleston pull it off with aplomb and you can tell they’re having a lot of fun with it. The four heroes are all different from each other, both physically and personality-wise: Big Foot speaks with what appears to be a Bronx accent, Yeti is more like a surfer dude, Sasquatch is the largest and talks like the Hulk and Skunk Ape is actually an intellectual in a white lab coat. (And a note about that: when many comics try to put words in a hyper-intelligent person’s mouth, they usually come out sounding, well, stupid. Most of the time it’s just a jumble of big words but the sentences aren’t actually put together properly. I was pleased to note that Skunk Ape actually does sound like a smarty-pants, pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo aside.)
In this first issue, while chasing down a loose Manticore, the foursome encounter a dad on a camping trip with his two sons. Before they can decide what to do with the witnesses, they have to deal with Bedfellow’s latest scheme and the family tags along. The interactions are pretty great: the dad (despite reassurances to the contrary) is just convinced that they’re going to be eaten; the teenager is bored and guesses that the whole thing is a plot set up by his dad for some “quality time”; the younger brother is just having a terrific time. And so will you.
Uncle Silas: Genetis is also a short graphic novel, written and illustrated by David Follett. Selena and Tommy show up at their Uncle Silas’ greenhouse and discover he’s missing. Instead they’re greeted by a sentient organic computer named S.O.F.I.A. who tells them that Silas is trapped inside his greenhouse and they need to go rescue him. What follows is a bizarre trip through genetically-modified flora that has a mind of its own. Wearing high-tech pod suits, Selena and Tommy plunge into the greenhouse, which is filled with mobile plant life, mushroom hard drives and plant-based doppelgangers. Even when they find Silas, getting back out of the greenhouse will be a trick.
The artwork of Uncle Silas: Genetis is somewhat manga-inspired with vivid colors and some truly remarkable plant-monsters. The science would probably make a biologist cringe, but I’m pretty sure Follett recognizes the absurdities of the biotech and the book isn’t making any arguments about how it works. However, I did feel like this book had a good bit of scientific gobbledygook that sometimes made it hard to know exactly what was supposed to be going on. Wait — is the fungus good or this big rotten fish-skeleton thing? Just a word of warning before you give this one to your younger kids, since it’s marked as “all ages”: once Uncle Silas shows up, there is a bit of stronger language, since he’s fond of saying “What the hell?” (which, given the circumstances, may be understandable).
I really liked the artwork of Uncle Silas: Genetis and the realistic bickering between the brother and sister even as they’re supposed to be on a rescue mission. However, in this one I felt like the pseudo-science sometimes got in the way of the story and made it a little harder to follow. The book ends on a note which leaves it open for more, and I’d certainly be curious where the story goes from here.
Uncle Silas: Genetis was released last fall from Dark Horse Comics.
Disclosure: GeekDad was provided with a PDF preview of Missing Linx and a review copy of Uncle Silas: Genetis by the publishers.