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Review – Napoleon Dynamite #1 (IDW Publishing)

Napoleon Dynamite #1
Overall
6.9/10
6.9/10
  • Writing - 6.5/10
    6.5/10
  • Art - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Overall - 6.8/10
    6.8/10
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Summary

Writers: Alejandro Verdugo & Carlos Guzman-Verdugo
Penciler: Jorge Monlongo
Colorist: Jorge Monlongo
Letterer: Christa Miesner
Cover Art: Sara Richard
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Maturity Rating: Teen
Release Date: September 25th, 2019

Napoleon Dynamite and his friends are back! Senior year has started and Pedro is the student body president. All is not well, though, as there is impeachment in the air. Also, has Napoleon’s grandmother inadvertently rented out the extra room to murder investigators?

 

“Impeach Pedro” – Napoleon Dynamite #1

Napoleon Dynamite is back! Now with less Rex Kwon Do. Napoleon Dynamite starts off the senior year with his best friends while going through the usual odd scenarios that he is known for. Pedro’s election victory is called into question while a murder-mystery envelops the town (including Napoleon’s kitchen) in Napoleon Dynamite #1.

Writing

Napoleon Dynamite #1 (IDW Publishing) cover A by Sara Richard
Napoleon Dynamite #1 (IDW Publishing) cover A by Sara Richard

The writers, Alejandro Verdugo and Carlos Guzman-Verdugo, have a hard task here. The film on which this is based is such a strange one, beloved by its cult following, but it was one of those movies where everything had to go right for it to work. Part of what went right was not just the writing but also the acting. Because of this, the writers of this comic start off at a loss without the actors along for the story. 

There is a real attempt here to capture the essence of what made Napoleon Dynamite so funny. Unfortunately, the humor, more often than not, falls a little flat. The frameworks of the characters are here, but it seems to be lacking a little bit of the soul. The characterization of Napoleon also seems a little off. Artistic license by the writer would seem to allow a bit of development here. Conversely, characterizing Napoleon as a wannabe-cryptozoologist cracking into Area 51 seems a bit off the mark. 

While the characters are missing some of what made them unique in the film, there is at least more going on here in terms of the story. The election of Pedro to student council president was an important part of the first movie’s plot, and it comes up again here. The murder-mystery is also a nice addition, and both of these act as decent hooks for those reading. This is where it is evident that the writers are trying hard to get this to work in comic format, only that the task still might be difficult to recreate the original. 

Art

Jorge Monlongo did the art for Napoleon Dynamite #1. The art here is a nice touch to the overall feel of the issue. It is not the kind of streamlined art that one might expect from a superhero book. It still fits with the overall presentation of the characters from the film. The end result is not pretty, but it’s also evident that Monlongo is not going for that, either. 

Conclusion

Those familiar with the original film might remember the post-credits scene involving the marriage between Kip and LaFawnduh. This part of the movie was added onto the original after the studio saw that the movie was going viral. It was criticized at the time for lacking the overall spirit of the film, and fans seemed a bit perplexed that the studio didn’t get what had made the movie so special to begin with. In short, it was zany, but not in character. The same can, unfortunately, be said for Napoleon Dynamite #1. The creative team is evidently working hard trying to capture the spirit of the film, but it is such a hard task that the issue falls a little flat.


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