Napoleon Dynamite, Even In Comic Book Form, Is Still Flippin’ Awesome (Review)
Napoleon Dynamite #1
Writers: Carlos Guzman-Verdugo & Alejandro Verdugo
Art: Jorge Monolongo
Publisher: IDW Publishing
One of the most memorable movies for me when looking back at my high school years, if not the most memorable, is Napoleon Dynamite. To this day that film stands the test of time. Since the film released a decade and a half ago, there hasn’t been much done with the property, aside from an animated series that went completely unnoticed. Fortunately for fans like myself, we now have a new format to enjoy one of the most interesting and iconicly memorable characters of all time.
Our beloved Napoleon is now a senior, and not much has really changed. He’s still trying to learn his “sweet moves,” but now that Rex-Quan-Do is out of business, he goes to a trainer with a different approach, Brock Montana. Oddly enough, Brock Montana seems to see something special in Napoleon and even goes as far as giving him the personal advice of a non-violent approach which Napoleon ends up using at some point in the issue. As far as his friends and family, Pedro is class president, Deb and Napoleon are now dating, but taking it slow. Really, really slow. Uncle Rico’s new get-rich-quick scheme involves selling knock-off Siracha, but other than that, Uncle Rico is still very much is usual “living in the past” type of self, or so it may seem. Ill get back to that in a moment. The major change to the world of Napoleon is his home life. Now that Kip is out of the house with Lafawnda, his room is now open. Grandma uses this opportunity to rent it out to supplement the back due internet bills Kip left behind. The two renting out this room are investigative reporters in town with reason to believe that a string of murders is tied to somebody close to them in town. Their prime suspect: Uncle Rico! That should be plenty of plot line to kick off a first issue, right? Well, it wasn’t. There’s even an election scandal going on in school, and the person heading the campaign against Pedro is a new character by the name of Joana Gato. When she reveals that the ballot box has been tampered with, the principal is forced to begin the impeachment process against Pedro!
Carlos Guzman-Verdugo and Alejandro Verdugo are officially on my comic book creator radar . I have been in desperate need of some sort of Napoleon Dynamite resurgence, and these two delivered with a bow on top. This issue is loaded with dialog, but because these are all characters in which we all are very familiar with already and know the voices, it flows perfectly. Not a single thing about this story felt wrong or out of place. Carlos and Alejandro are clearly the Napoleon Dynamite fans you would want to helm a property so coveted. Even with the new characters introduced in this first issue, you feel like they belong in Napoleon’s universe. This book could either be all wrong, or perfect. As a die hard Dynamite fan, I can say with full confidence that these two have done it perfectly.
The thing I was most intrigued with going into this title was the artwork and the style in which Napoleon and friends would be depicted. I could not be more pleased with what I opened up to. Caricatured, but not overly cartoony. Dull brownish-greys with spots of brilliant brightness sprinkled in. It’s almost as if Jorge Monolongo watched the movie and figured out how to create that exact same tone through illustration. In other words, it was absolutely perfect. All of the characters are immediately recognizable, and the new characters introduced will forever be remembered as well based off of the wonderful uniqueness he assigned to each character. The only thing I found to have changed was Napoleon’s hair. I always saw his hair as almost permed and reddish, but Monolongo went with a blondish disheveled look, while still maintaining the overall form of his head. Although these changes may seem drastic, at fist glance you still automatically recognize Napoleon, so believe me when I say that it takes about three seconds to get used to it. As great of a job that the writers did, if the art style didn’t resonate immediately, this book’s chances of survival were slim. Thankfully, artistic perfection was delivered and I very confident in this book’s future.
Overall, I could not be more happy with what I read. Being a long time fan of this character, with little new material to enjoy over the years, it’s obvious my anticipation was high, as well as my skepticism. I was honestly worried about this beloved property being depicted in a manner that did not fully live up to standards. From the pin-point dialog to the wonderful art style that could not be more suited for this book, Napoleon Dynamite #1 is truly a must read for any Napoleon fan out there.