Nobody likes a bully.
Paul Tobin and Ron Chan continue their jaunt through Neighborville with the second issue of the Bully for You storyline of their Plants vs. Zombies series. Zomboss has been captured by the anti-bully squad and awaits his fate in their dungeon while our heroes battle off the well-educated hordes of Zombie College.
I like the idea that Paul Tobin started this series on, but I’m feeling a little let down with this second issue. Yes, the zombies bullied by Zomboss in college have turned the tables on him, but it seems that their plan is not much different from his, and their punishment of him seems to be of a very random nature. Yes, this is a series that runs on its non-sequitors, but this issue feels a bit like a DBZ episode where Goku’s going to power up for 30 minutes while everybody talks around him. The dialogue is witty and as outrageous as we’ve come to expect, it just felt like the balance between that and the action was slightly off. This is by no means a condemnation; I think the issue reads well and I enjoy the fun very much. I just felt that it slowed a bit on the promise of the first issue. I have no doubt it will pick up as they continue on.
Ron Chan gets to shine, though, since the majority of the issue is visually based. He paints some masterful panels that really fill out the world, and you can enjoy the college zombies in great detail. There are fun little surprises everywhere. The emotional baggage that the anti-bullies are laden with is laid out with wonderful ability, giving a decent emotional depth to otherwise stock-but-with-different-hat characters.
Two backup strips appear in this issue, as well, written by Tobin and featuring artwork by Jennifer L Meyer. These two stories have more heart and fun than the main, which shows that Tobin still has the best intentions with these characters and their world. My personal favorite is “Blown Away;” it has the kind of heart that I’ve come to admire from this team’s storytelling, and it manages to capture the hopeful, buffoon-type character with incredible precision.
There’s a lot to like in this series, and, my personal feelings aside, I very much support and enjoy this book, as it tends to deal with good themes and does so in a way that the oddball tone can prevent it from being a mental bludgeoning. Fans of the games will still get a kick out of this issue.
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