After multiple iterations as plush toys, board games, and even Halloween costumes, Angry Birds takes a shot at being a comic book. And if all you’re in the mood for is a meme, then it ain’t half-bad. But if you want more — sorry — it just ain’t gonna happen.
Here’s the official word from IDW:
Angry Birds, the world’s most popular mobile game franchise, makes it’s comic book debut! Featuring a fun-filled, action packed story from Eisner-nominated creator Jeff Parker, these comics are ready to slingshot their way off the page and into your hearts!
When approaching an comic book adaptation of, well, anything, each reader has to develop a personal rubric for how they measure what it means for an issue to be successful. For some, success is measured by how true the comic stays to the essence of the original — some say the closer the comic comes to replicating a movie, for instance, the better it is. And while I don’t think this a bad way to judge a comic that’s riffing off an established franchise, I always like to add this caveat: could the comic stand up on it’s own even if I didn’t know jack about the original? Well, when it comes to Angry Birds #1 by writer Jeff Parker the answer is “kinda.”
This is all to say that Parker’s script, which offers three amusing tales featuring everyone’s favorite quarreling birds and pigs is actually pretty fun, but mostly because it’s fun to see how Parker takes a universe gamers have already explored and tries to build a plot around it. Now don’t get too excited yet — the plots are not intricate, and there’s nothing close to character development here. Instead, Parker seems to be toying with the bizarro-rivalry that fans have long taken for granted, and event takes a shot at explaining how a bird can explode but never really die. In this sense, if you look at Angry Birds #1 as just another meme, it’s actually quite fun. But if you strip away the layers of brand loyalty cushioning this debut issue, you come to realize there’s nothing too compelling here. At least not enough to make me grab next issue.
That said, the art, by David Baldeon, is actually quite good. Baldeon adds texture to the birds and pigs, allowing them their first shot at real acting. When all you have is essentially floating heads to work with, facial expressions are key and Baldeon seems to know this — he spends considerable effort on getting each face just right.
If you’re an Angry Birds fan, then issue #1 will certainly deliver. If you’re looking for the next evolution of this franchise, however, you’re going to have to wait.