Banana Fox and The Gummy Monster Mess | Review
Banana Fox and The Gummy Monster Mess
Writer/artist: James Kochalka
The third installment of prolific cartoonist James Kochalka’s new Banana Fox series finds the yellow detective and his sidekick Flashlight (real name: Sharyanna) re-opening the Smoothie Shack that Banana Fox worked at in the original, this time as a detective agency. Banana Fox even gets them matching fedoras, so they’ll look the part of great detectives.
Their first customer? Well, that’s Banana Fox super-fan William, but he just wanted a smoothie. Their first detective agency customer? Sour Grapes Jr., son of Banana Fox’s archenemy and leader of the Secret Sour Society. He believes his father is actually innocent of the crimes Banana Fox and Sharyanna put him in jail for in Banana Fox and the Secret Sour Society, and he wants them to take the case and ultimately free him. This might seem preposterous, but all of the evidence against Sour Grapes Sr. got pureed into a smoothie by accident, and what remains–a box of fish food–seems exculpatory.
In Kochalka’s typically stream-of-consciousness story-telling style, a string of bizarre clues—an onion, a large fish carrying a sack, an empty and blown-up jail—lead our heroes to the Red Herring gummy snack factory, and into the clutches of a gummy monster (see the cover).
This time all the red herring clues turn out to be real clues, though, as there’s an actual Red Herring, a big red fish whose evil plans are, he says, better than Sour Grapes’ evil plans, and thus he always foils them in favor of his own. Red Herring is, Sour Grapes says, his “old nemesis.” (“But I thought I was your nemesis!” Banana Fox protests; “Ha! You wish!” Sour Grapes replies).
Official nemesis status aside, Banana Fox triumphs, of course, because it is his name in the title, after all. Despite the fact that Sour Grapes takes on and defeats Red Herring, he still ends up defeated and in jail, with Banana Fox’s Smoothie Shack Detective Agency notching another successful victory.
Kochalka’s cartooning remains on point, fun, simple and open, bursting with bright colors and animated by manic, occasionally flailing action. The Gummy Monster Mess, like the entirety of the Banana Fox series, is all-around fun, all-ages comics.
About J. Caleb Mozzocco
J. Caleb Mozzocco is a way-too-busy freelance writer who has written about comics for online and print venues for a rather long time now. He currently contributes to Comic Book Resources' Robot 6 blog and ComicsAlliance, and maintains his own daily-ish blog at EveryDayIsLikeWednesday.blogspot.com. He lives in northeast Ohio, where he works as a circulation clerk at a public library by day.
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