Ever since reading Redwall I’ve had a soft spot for anthropomorphic fiction. I’m not sure what it is, because really it’s kind of a weird genre. In comics lately, Kurt Busiek’s Autumnlands has been killing it, with its phenomenal artwork and incredible storyline. The Mighty Zodiac is really nothing like that. Torres and Howell’s new comic is a charming, cartoonish story of an anthropomorphic Feudal Japan where powerful stars fall from the sky and the twelve members of the Mighty Zodiac need to recover them before the evil Rabbit army does. The Mighty Zodiac plays out like a watered down Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: funny samurai/ninja animals but without all of the cool. It reminded me of some nameless 90s cartoon that only existed to sell toys of the characters to kids. It isn’t as sinister as that, but with a thin plot and average art, it isn’t really a series I see myself returning to. It’s enjoyable enough though, and when it finally gets rolling about mid-issue, it is a fun comic. I’m definitely not the target audience for this comic, but I took the risk anyway. It has that “superhero team” feel to it, where there are too many characters to fully flesh out, which could prove problematic later on.
For kids looking for a quick read, this definitely will fill that void. It delivers some laughs, and a lot of action, but without much substance it quickly loses its footing. To be expected each one of the Zodiac animals are there, each with their personality matching their species. Much like other big team comics or cartoons there are only two female animals and the rest of the cast is overwhelmingly male, it would have been nice to see this divide a little more balanced. For me that just adds to the blandness of the book, making it seem a little dated.
In comparison with Autumnlands (the only other anthropomorphic comic I know coming out right now) it doesn’t stand a chance. Granted, each has a very specific audience, but I couldn’t help think of Busiek’s compelling story as I was reading Torres’ uninspired plot. I’m sure once it gets a few issues in The Mighty Zodiac will gain some momentum, and for kids just getting into the talking animal genre it could be a jumping off point for some of the greater works.
[button btn_url="" btn_color="violet" btn_size="large" btn_style="default" btn_outlined="no" link_target="blank" link_rel="" icon_left="" icon_right=""]Score: 2/5[/button]
The Mighty Zodiac #1 Writer: J. Torres Artist: Corin Howell Publisher: Oni Press Price: Print: $3.99 Release Date: 04/6/16 Format: Print/Digital