On the Road #3
Comic Book Review
James Gannon - So it comes to this. The Muppet’s grand road tour comes to an end as the theater gets rebuilt in about 2-3 months or so (comic book time). On the Road #3 actually isn’t, as you’ll see shortly.
The story starts with a large, mysterious crate gets delivered to the Muppet Theater (in a Pops cold opening worthy of the show). That box winds up greeting the gang as soon as they get back, roughly in the 5th page in. In other words, On the Road 3 takes place in the theater. Anyway, the box is addressed to Fozzie, and everyone is dying to crack it open to find out what’s inside. Rizzo especially, he’s the one that starts it. And you can expect the same great sketches we’ve seen in issues past - Pigs in Space, Veterinarian’s Hospital, at the Dance – breaking up the action.
There are two major highlights in this issue to point out. Gonzo decides not to return to the theater by the Muppet bus, but rather a marathon of his own crazy, stunt obsessed design. Hosted by Louis Kazagger to boot. I’ve always liked the idea of taking the action out of the theater in issues that take place there, ever since Miss Piggy’s Story. And of course, if you miss Gonzo’s wacky stunts, then you’ll be very happy with his role in the issue. The second highlight is a Muppet Labs sketch focusing on the Schroedinger’s Cat theorem (basically if you put something in a box unobserved, it creates two possibilities that can exist inside). Rather than demonstrating one of their new gizmos that doesn’t work properly, we have Dr. Honeydew ponder this quantum theory that goes no less awry. I find that a complete step up from the original Muppet Show sketch, taking everything to the next level. Makes you wish the show actually had sketches like that.
Not that this isn’t another great issue, but somehow it feels that they arrived back at the studio too soon. The story arc is only 3 issues long (as opposed to the normal 4 issues) due to the fact that it was just easier to publish 3 issues and the Pigs in Space issue 0 in one graphic novel. Otherwise, they’d have to omit issue zero completely from the reprint, get through an amazing amount of complicated red tape to get a special 5 issue novel in, or have and uneven flow of 3 parts of one arc, and one part of another. Even considering that, it seems that everyone should have got to the theater at the end of this issue, or the start of the next arc. It really seemed to do the Muppets good to go on tour, giving each issue a different feel from the usual series. And I especially liked (as I said last time) the non-traditional rebus and alphabet type comics about Fozzie going solo. I really hope we can see that change of pace in future arcs.