by Mike Allred, Lee Allred, Laura Allred & James Harvey
Bug! The Adventures of Forager has been one of comics best and most entertaining series since it’s debut earlier this year for it’s wacky irreverent story telling and fantastic art work. In issue #4, the title has truly hit it’s stride with an equal parts hillarious and fascnating romp through the Jack Kirby DC Comics mythos featuring a Deadman cameo connected to his weird crossover with the original Infinity Man & The Forever People series, a Manhunter, a Sandman who has “no affiliated with that old timey gas mask guy”, a dimensional vortex, an angry Teddy Bear, Tatsinda, Dr Spider singing R.E.M lyrics & oh so much more bilssful comic book weirdness.
The creative partnership of Mike, Lee & Laura Allred has been a fruitful one, and a fixture in comics on some level for well over a decade now, but in Bug!, it feel’s like this is the comic they were born to make. Artist Mike Allred has always held Jack Kirby as a touchstone for his comics work, and Bug! has given him the chance to run wild with the King’s concepts for a splendid adventure through the odd corners of the DC multiverse. Issue #4 stands out for both it’s economy of story, and how it manages to fire on all cylinders in all the things that make the comic great, for what is the best installment of the series yet.
Issue #4 of Bug! is impressive for just how much story telling it get’s out of the single issue. For what’s essentially twenty one pages of comics; Lee, Mike & Laura manage to cram as much content as possible into the issue in a way that feels natural to the story and highly satisfying. Though the creative team rightfully get’s the most praise for their artwork, Bug! #4 is equally as impressive for how seamless it is structurally in it’s plot while telling a story that’s incredibly complex if you really think about it, with it’s expanded cast and various callbacks to earlier parts of the series and Jack Kirby comics. Of course, the visual storytelling of Bug! plays a major part in that, and it’s something that Mike & Laura Allred have mastered. The Allred’s have a distinctive style that manages to incorporate complex surrealism into an easy to read narrative that is vibrant and engaging. Mike & Laura Allred have a well known aesthetic at this point, and it’s at its apex on Bug! #4. It’s one where they can mesh the extraordinary setting with distinct character work and acting that makes the protagonists feel relatable and endearing. Lee & Michael Allred’s dialogue furthers that sentiment with some of the most funny, clever and sardonic conversations between the cast that adds an entire layer of charm to the proceedings. It’s a comic where by the second page, a teddy bear is yelling “I am NOT a marsupial” and it’s perfect. In addition, cartoonist James Harvey has an excellent three page short at the books conclusion that in it’s brief appearance radically expands the confines of the medium for it’s ingenious lay out methodology with the illustrators fantastic and singular style.
Bug! The Adventures Of Forager has been a delight in each installment, with #4 being it’s best yet. It’s engrossing, hilarious, irreverent, thoughtful and action packed in equal measure. Bug! incorporates the expansive catalog of DC Jack Kirby into the bizarre collective imagination of the Allred clan, and comes out the other side as something unexpected and excellent every time. In issue #4, it truly reaches another level in that regard, for a flawless single installment like nothing