Not afraid to criticize, “Todd: The Ugliest Kid On Earth” #5 sure knows how to hit the right spots with its biting satire. Celebrities, TV personalities, and even Comic Con are all caught in the crossfire. Readers will want to know who the next target is when the comic lampoons every bit about popular culture.
WRITTEN BY: Ken Kristensen
ART BY: M.K. Perker
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
RELEASE: September 25, 2012
Todd, the ugliest kid on Earth, has just been released from prison and found out he has a sister (sort of). Todd’s father, always the get-rich-quick scam artist, found out how he can get the attention of his favorite movie star, Barbara Fairchild. Todd’s father promises to take in Barbara’s little girl and raiser her as if she were his own. No one in the neighborhood will ask questions because she has a bag over her head, just like Todd. Trouble is about to begin when Todd and his family end up crossing paths with Satanists, has-been authors, and cosplayers at Comic Con.
Writer Ken Kristensen sure likes to take scathing jabs at the comic book industry. When Todd and his father reach Comic Con, Kristensen isn’t poking fun at the fan’s perspective. Instead, Kristensen is more about taking big business down a notch. At times though, Kristensen’s message comes across as bleak and cynical, even when Todd is supposed to represent the opposite of that. Filled with naiveté and childlike optimism, Todd is untouched by the harsh realities of his surroundings.
When Kristensen uses big names as characters, such as author Tom Wolfe and interviewer Charlie Rose, his message comes across as bitter and mean-spirited. In the narrative, Wolfe, author of “Bonfire of the Vanities,” is portrayed as a has-been author hired to write a comic book. Rose could care less about a disaster, but is more interested in sacrificing his assistant to the Devil. By the time I reached the last page, I ended up thinking, “What’s your deal, man? Why are you picking on them for? When have you written the great American novel or interviewed the President?”
In his artwork, M.K. Perker amuses readers as he pokes fun at suburbia and Comic Con. Inspired by Norman Rockwell paintings, Perker is able to depict the suburban look as if it were an exaggerated cartoon. In the opening pages, notice how quiet and peaceful the suburban town is as the song lyrics swirl across the page. But underneath the pleasantry, someone is breaking bad, whether it’s the corrupt mayor and or a school teacher doing drugs.
When Perker’s illustrations reach Comic Con, readers can spot Rorschach and the White Queen amongst the crowd. That guy is too fat and too old to be dressing up as Captain America though. In Charlie Rose’s character design, Perker highlights the frown and wrinkles while getting the right facial expressions. Though the main protagonist has a bag over his face, Perker is able to show much emotion just through Todd’s round eyes.
Filled with raunchy humor and weird characters, “Todd The Ugliest Kid On Earth” #5 lets loose on its satirical message and doesn’t hold back. How long before Todd’s innocence succumbs to the dark side of suburbia?
Reviewed by – Jorge Solis