Friday, July 13, 2007

The Jam With Jinxlets

Cirbozoid has fallen! Its inhabitants have almost been annihilated! How will the friendly insect-people survive?

Well, it starts with a horde of cuddlebugs.

I must confess, I’m not that interested in the over-arching “metastory” behind Starslip Crisis. I read the strip mostly for the character interaction, which is excellent. Fortunately, Kristopher Straub tends to advance the overall story very slowly - usually introducing events so his characters can react to them (and each other). Starslip Crisis is, after all, a humor strip with elements of space opera rather than the other way around, and it really works.

Case in point - as part Lord Katarakis' plan for galactic domination, the evil warlord has conquered Cirbozoid, homeworld of the Cirbozoid, and is busily seeking to exterminate their race. With a population of only 257, the Cirbozoid must begin the Glorysong to quickly raise an army to defend their planet.

Unfortunately for Mr. Jinx and the Fuseli, the Glorysong affects all Cirbozoids, even those lightyears away.

One of the reasons I like this storyline is the insanely complex Cirbozoid biology. It's enough of a recurring gag that two different Starslip Crisis books include a Cirbozoid anatomy lesson.

In this particular instance, the Cirbozoid Glorysong induces all Cirbozoid to begin reproducing. A lot. Three cargo holds' worth, in Jinx's case. And he's not going to stop reproducing until he gets some Cirbozoid Jelly. The jelly has three uses, actually - stopping the Glorysong, inducing the pupae's metamorphosis, and making for a marvelous duck comfit.

Which leads us to the other reason I like this storyline - the way the characters respond. Jinx, as ever, is the perennial straight man - the Kif Kroker of this universe, although less pathetic - nothing phases him, not continuously spawning hundreds of larval soldiers, nor the consternation of his crewmates. Cutter, as ever, tries to take it all in stride, but the real humor comes from Memnon Vanderbeam, the Fuseli's curator. Despite his attempts to portray himself as an unflappable man of culture, Vanderbeam is quite flappable ... quite flappable indeed.

Vanderbeam's reacted to Jinx's dilemma in the manner with which we are accustomed - dismissing the problem and then overreacting. Of course, deep down Vanderbeam's still a decent fellow, so he arranges to solve Jinx's problem. Unfortunately, Vanderbeam's disinterest in Cirbozoid biology only leads to a new problem.

Still, Vanderbeam's big enough to admit he's wrong this time. Granted, it's because everyone's life is in danger, but still. It's the thought that counts.

While the situation with the Cirbozoid soldier is swiftly (with a very funny anticlimax), I don't think this storyline's over just yet. After all, there's still three cargo holds full of Jinxlets to deal with (and I get the funny feeling Vanderbeam's going to keep his. If he can identify which one it is).

Although that might not be the best idea.

Starslip Crisis
Writer and Artist: Kristopher Straub

Comic images are © 2007 Krisopher Straub. Used without permission

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