Graphic Novel Review: ‘Zootopia: Friends to the Rescue’

  

Hey, hey, everymammal, it’s your favourite resident meerkat here back with another review — and this time around, I am going to be reviewing the graphic novel Zootopia: Friends to the Rescue that was published by Dark Horse. 

Now, I wasn’t surprised that Disney gave the go ahead for a graphic novel. I was, however, surprised that Dark Horse is the publisher. The company has a long history behind it and has produced some phenomenal works in the past, but it’s also tended to develop titles for the teen-and-older audience. Now I’m sitting here waiting for a Hellboy crossover that will never happen, haha! 

Anyway, I will be delving into this graphic novel and reviewing the 2 stories tucked away within after the break! 

Look at the tiny mouse locker!

The first story is all about young Judy! The first tale is titled “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” by the Beatles, and…oh wait…I see what they did there. The actual title is “Judy in the Sky with Dinah.” 

We get to meet some of Judy’s childhood friends in this book, and one of them turns out to be a clever fox wearing a pair of glasses, though the only one of her friends that gets named is a sloth named Dinah. 

Judy is super pumped about the upcoming Bunnyburrow county fair because of 3 words: carrot-flavoured funnel cake. But not only that — she is also excited about the hot air balloon ride that will also be happening at the fair. 

Dinah shows interest in the sky-high event also, but being a sloth, she takes all day to finish her sentence. 

I felt it a bit lazy to repeat the sloth joke, but it works for the story as Judy shows a reluctance in going to the fair with Dinah because she is so slow. 

Come on, guys, it’s getting old.

The
narrative jumps over to the Hopps’ residence, where we finally see her working with her 275 brothers and sisters and her mother, Bonnie, to get an insane amount of plates done. Judy is trying to convince her mother to let her go around the fair this year so she can enjoy it at her leisure and also ride the hot air balloon. 

Bonnie is reluctant to let her wander around alone due to her and Stu manning the carrot booth at the fair, but Judy asks her Pop-Pop very quickly — and I mean very quickly — if he could accompany her around the fair, to which he agrees!

 

Flash has some competition, I think!

As
a counterpoint to the scene at the Hopps’ residence, the scene from
Dinah’s home is quite different. Dinah asks her father if she can go to the fair with Judy, to which he blankly responds, “No.” 

That’s all we get before we cut back to Judy at the fair explaining to Pop-Pop that Dinah was not allowed to come because her dad didn’t want her daughter hanging around rabbits. She then shrugs it off with the comment of, “Kind of glad, though, as she would only slow us down.” 

Pop-Pop warns Judy about that kind of toxic attitude and reminds her that every mammal has their place in the world. Well, Pop-Pop certainly came around a long way since a certain deleted scene!

How progressive

We then have a single page dedicated to Dinah sneaking out of her bedroom window to go to the fair and then cut right back to Judy and Pop-Pop, who are winding down from roaming around the fairgrounds. Judy points out the hot air balloon ride to Pop-Pop, who tells her no because he was put in charge of looking after her, and a hot air balloon ride seems dangerous. 

Pop-Pop offers to get Judy a carrot-flavoured funnel cake before they set off back home and tells Judy to stay put.

She begrudgingly accepts but then notices Dinah sneaking onto the hot air balloon. 

A less-than-stellar attendant accidentally lets go of the balloon once Dinah is inside, which prompts Judy to dive into the balloon to help her friend. Judy thinks of a number of ways she could help get them back to the ground using her quick wits and athleticism. She gets them down… but also gets them stuck in a tree.

You go, Jude the Dude.

Eventually, Judy realises she’s stuck because rabbits can’t climb trees — but wait, sloths can! Using Dinah’s ability to climb, they both make it down to the ground safe and unharmed. 

Dinah’s parents show up out of nowhere, grateful that she is okay. Judy runs up to Pop-Pop agreeing that all mammals have their place, saying, “Bunnies are quick! Sloths can climb! But neither one of them should try to fly!”

This is where the story ends, and while it is a delightful little story, I have some issues with the ending. Although this is often the case,  the lack of closure with Dinah’s dad is
something that stands out, as it is never explored what his problems are with rabbits. In
addition, he doesn’t even thank Judy for saving Dinah from the hot air balloon.

This leaves the ending feeling kind of sour. Yes, Judy learned her lesson, but she learned that after her talk with Pop-Pop, and the climbing reaffirmed it. It doesn’t feel like Dinah’s dad learned anything at all and leaves me feeling like Judy after being told to stay put by Pop-Pop.

I share that feeling, Judy.
Now we’re onto Nick’s story!
Look at that little cinnamon roll!

There is hustle and bustle around the school because a hedgehog named Hedy has an upcoming birthday party. A nameless sheep (but for the sake of this review, I’m going to call him Woolworth, because even at the back of the book he’s just called Nick’s Friend)  gushes about how Hedy’s party is going to have a magician and how awesome it is going to be. He talks about how great his present is, which prompts him to ask Nick if he is going.
Nick lies about having a flea bath appointment on the same day, but it seems that he wasn’t actually invited. This disappointment is short-lived, however, as Hedy bumps into Nick and personally invites him, claiming the only reason he didn’t get an invitation through post is because she had no idea where Nick lives and is glad to have
bumped into him, as it allowed her to invite him to the party.

 

Looking sharp there, Nick!

He then spends Saturday gussying up for the birthday party, which gives us this gem of a panel of the young Master Wilde checking himself out. He is very excited to be able to go to Hedy’s birthday party, but as is a theme with this story, any emotion Nick seems to express is short-lived. He cracks open his piggy bank so he can buy a present for Hedy, only to discover that his
resources are…limited, and it will be some time before he learns
the art of the hustle. 

Don’t worry Nick, you ain’t far of 12.

Poor Nick is devastated by this turn of events and makes his way to Hedy’s party feeling miserable that he didn’t get Hedy anything. Just before he hits the doorway of Hedy’s house, however, he overhears the young hedgehog complaining through the door. Apparently the magician has called in sick, and now the party is ruined because everyone is expecting a magic show. 

This gets the gears in our favourite sly fox’s head turning as he concocts a plan!

He runs into a bear carrying his shopping and asks the huge ursine to “Bear with him a minute” as we then cut to inside the birthday girl’s house to see an upset Hedy.

But then, a knock on the door interrupts her train of thought as she answers it. A young fox stands at the door with a paper shopping bag on his head, introducing himself as a magician, and he begins to do a bunch of simple party tricks like balloon animals and juggling.

At the end of the act, he takes a bow, causing the paper bag to fall to the floor and reveal that it is none other than Nick Wilde. This understandingly shocks Hedy, and she asks why he
would go to all this trouble for her. 

Nick explains how he didn’t have enough money to get her a present but heard about the problem with the magician and didn’t want to see her sad, so he thought this would be the next best thing. He apologises that the act wasn’t spectacular, but Hedy doesn’t share the sentiment and says it was the best present she had ever received! Even better than Woolworth’s present!

A joke book about sheep, that was your present? Better luck next time, Woolworth!

The rest of the book includes various activities such as find the differences, a scavenger hunt to find items in both stories, a tell-me-a-story activity where you pick 1 of 4 things in 4 different categories to make a story, and a who am I? activity!
Now, what did I think of this book? The stories were nice enough — short simple and sweet — although with Judy’s story, I felt the ending could have been improved to
deal with some of the other issues that were brought up. Nick’s, however, was just fine. 

The art by Leandro Ricardo da Silva and colours by Wes Dzioba are fantastic; they both did amazing work! Although someone needs to inform Leandro that bunnies don’t have paw pads.

Overall,
it was an enjoyable read, and I look forward to reviewing the next one. What? Next one, you ask? Yep; the back of the book teases the next novel, Zootopia Family Night, and the most intriguing thing about this cover is that Nick is on it this time, not Judy. 

Maybe we will get more of Nick’s mom? I hope so!

If you are interested in buying this book – and I recommend you do if you want to get more novels like this — then speak with your wallet and get it from Amazon via this handy dandy link!
This has been Surrika, your friendly neighbourhood meerkat of merch! See you next review!

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