Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to say that the Mr. Peabody and Sherman comic is back in full force. If you’ll recall, after a stellar beginning, the next couple of issues weren’t quite up to par. But, Issue #4 may very well be the best of the lot. The puns are terrible (in the best way), the stories are silly, the historical figures are clueless, and it’s packed with obscure references. I laughed and smiled my way through the whole thing.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that this is, evidently, the last one. It ends, not exactly on a cliffhanger, but in the middle of what promises to be another fun adventure with the words, “To Be Continued in the Mr. Peabody & Sherman movie.” This is supremely disappointing to me for two reasons. First of all, because the comic finally seems to have hit its stride, and I want to read more of it, and second, because I don’t think the movie is going to be nearly as good. I guess we’ll find out, though, in March.
Issue #4 is the Valentine’s Day issue, which begins—as all Valentine-based pop culture should, in my opinion—with our heroes running away from the Mongol hordes, as led by Genghis Khan. After an elaborate and perfectly timed escape, accompanied by an elaborate and perfectly timed awful pun, they wind up safely back home. They’re out and about again a few minutes later, though, on Peabody’s latest quest: to teach Sherman about love and romance.
First they visit William Shakespeare, who’s suffering from severe writer’s block, which Peabody and Sherman must help him overcome. Then, they visit Cyrano de Bergerac, the subject of the famous 19th century play by Edmund Rostand. Several things impressed me about the Cyrano section, the main one being references to the lesser-known fact that the real Cyrano was the author of some of the earliest science fiction stories ever written. Finally, Peabody and Sherman wind up in the court of Marie Antoinette, where they’re greeted with more silliness and obscure references.
The references, I think, are perhaps the best part of this issue, better than the clueless historical figures and, yes, even better than the puns. They’re smart and funny and subtle, giving you the feeling that you’re “in the know” when you get them. This is what a good children’s comic should be. Kids can enjoy it. Adults can enjoy it. Then, when the kids grow up, they can come back to it and enjoy it again in a whole new way.
Now, all that remains to be seen is whether or not the same can be said about the movie. Judging by the trailer, I still have my doubts. Just like with the comic, though, I’m prepared to be pleasantly surprised.