There are times in which a graphic novel can so perfectly capture the balance of satire and action that one literally cannot decide whether to laugh or marvel. Well, sure, it’s possible to do both at once, but it doesn’t happen often.
Along comes a comfortably-sized six-by-nine graphic novel entitled Ursa Minors! by Neil Kleid, Paul Cote and Fernando Pinto, a collection of black and white comic book stories about three beer-swilling dudes in robotic bear costumes.
No, your eyes aren’t tricking you. I really did just say “robotic bear costumes.”
Oh, it gets better. One of their nemeses is none other than the “Codpiece of Destruction” himself, Lord Shattercock, who commands an army of robots that our Bear Heroes take out with many a snarky remark (“Didn’t Asimov teach you anything?!”) and plenty of technologically boosted strength, and all over a misunderstanding stemming from, of all things, a case of mistaken identity in an internet chatroom.
Feel free to laugh, because that’s the whole point. This isn’t a serious work at all. What’s amazing is, the comic manages to so perfectly emulate what it is satirizing that it rises above other superhero comedies into something altogether more remarkable. The art is cartoony enough, but with the sort of edge you’d expect to find in black and white comics of this sort, and when we’re not treated to hilarious physical humor involving computer monitor abuse or scathing remarks from lovely young ladies, we witness Jetpack Ninjas in all their glory. And there’s a Rabbi-Ninja too, trying to balance a date with laying a nasty threat down on a clan member who has disgraced his brothers.
I swear I’m not making this up.
Even the opening page of the book tells us what we’re in for, in dialogue delivered by a robo-bear with a pipe and a smoking jacket, comfy as Alastair Cooke. In fact, the dialogue throughout the book is nothing short of perfect, as it relentlessly feeds us more and more of the zany, over-the-top humor that makes this book such a great read. To try and describe the stories or the characters themselves would be a pointless endeavor; all of what the book has to offer must be experienced firsthand to be truly appreciated. Just bear in mind (ohhhh, SORRY!) that this book has enough sexual situations and coarse language that it would not be appropriate for younger readers. This is a book for older readers who can appreciate not only the torrential flood of pop culture references and abrasive one-liners, but also the very essences of the comic book world that the book so flawlessly lampoons and embraces at the same time.
Does this sound like your cup of tea? Well then, don’t just sit there! Get yourself a copy of this book and check out all the beer-fueled action. Growl growl, baby.