The Furry Action Comic with Hairy Situations
SPOILER ALERT: By this review’s conclusion I will have highly recommended Mr. Beaver #2 at least two times to whoever is reading this.
What's the score!?
Mr Beaver #2
Writer & Artist: Pablo Verdugo Munoz
Colorist: Jose Exposito
Mr. Beaver, a special agent that is literally a beaver, has to pair up with manga stereotype rookie cop to bring down a criminal organization that wants to take over the world or something (of course!)
Awesomeness - 90%
Plot - 70%
Characters - 90%
Tone - 95%
If you ask me, and I assume you did since you clicked on the link, you should definitely read Mr. Beaver #2. It’s so worth it, so so worth it. I’d go as far as stating you need to read it, but, first and foremost, I don’t believe in “must-reads.”
Secondly, there’s one itty bitty caveat here that must be pointed out. You see, dear reader, visually and narratively-wise, this thing has it all: explosions, puns, action sequences, oblique foreshadowing, onion-layered characters, dialogue boxes created exclusively to wax poetic; you name it. However—
“What about erotic sequences or sex scenes?”, you ask. “Does it have that as well?”
OK, you know what? Your right to name things has been rescinded until further notice. This a T+ book, not an AO rave fest of nakedness, for John Frum’s sake!
I know it’s called Mr. Beaver, but come on! Your middle school tenure ended years ago! Geesh. In fact, I will give you two empty paragraphs right here and now for your brain to fill them up with all the obvious double-entendre jokes you can think of. Ready? Go!
ALL THE SHONEN TRAPPINGS YOU’VE LEARNED TO LOVE… BUT IN ENGLISH!
Stop me if you’ve read this right to left at least once in your lifetime. A somewhat young male protagonist, just one year shy of taking a literal deadly course where he passed with flying colors. Definitely not because he possesses unexplained superhuman abilities whose metrics are impossible to define.
He is either the chosen one or really really believes in himself, who, as it turns out, likes “working alone” since the whole “doing teamwork business” backfired on him in his past, and is the single one living being that can defend -insert city name here- from the threat of a themed group of super villains.
No, we’re not talking Naruto and his demon-given superpowers defeating a haul of snake-themed villains almost on his own in order to save his village. This isn’t any of the various JoJos, what with their natural disposition to harness magical powers in months in order to save the world from ancient evils and wanting to do it alone because it’s either their fault the evil exists or it’s a matter of proving they are the single best fighter in the world.
This isn’t even Seiya, a teenager who, despite been taught martial arts for barely a year, managed to become one of the best warriors in the world and proved it by defeating a bunch of Zodiac-themed villains.
No. This is Mr. Beaver. A literal beaver. With unexplained superpowers. Whose entire arc, apparently, will consist of the good old “you need to stop being such a proud warrior, Vegeta, and fight alongside your friends because THAT’S what makes you powerful” character arc – with a little dash of “you need to learn to trust people again, Naruto” peppered in. And he is fighting a zodiac-themed organization. Bent on conquering the world (of course!).
As I said: stop me if you’ve read this right to left before.
The only difference, other than it being originally in English and lacking a single Japanese name printed on its staff’s credits, is that, instead of being a comic about Greek gods, or about pirates, or about shamans, or about spirits with 70’s rock song names, this is a story about cops.
“Oh, like Gunsmith Cats? Or Burn Up Warrior? Or PatLabor? Or…?”
Look, interjecting reader, I get it. Mr. Beaver doesn’t have an original premise per se, apart from the whole anthropomorphic dude in the middle of the real-world thing which is, at best, underused at the moment. But the whole point of reading Mr. Beaver is about how much entertainment you can get out of it.
And the production values on that end are pretty high. It’s a gun-toting brooding beaver, for crying out loud! That’s awesome! I mean, this comic even teaches you how to make a bomb with batteries and water. What else do you need?
Look, if I had to write a back cover quote it’d be: “when McGyver meets Naruto, you get Mr. Beaver” or something of the likes while adding 4 stars next to it.
SO, WHAT’S THE WHOLE DEAL WITH COMPARING THIS TO MANGA?
It’s pretty obvious Pablo Verdugo Muñoz is – or at least was – a massive otaku. No need to judge him. Part of being a human being is the fact that you will be defined by your most memorable or long-lasting mistakes – only difference is some of us decide to marry them instead of being them.
From the getgo it’s quite easy to pinpoint the Japanese influences on Pablo’s pencilwork: he’s got exaggerated close ups, sometimes backgrounds consist entirely of action lines, people tend to dramatically point towards everything they’re talking about.
The whole panel gridwork reeks of early 2000’s manga, chibis are the default angry expression, and there’s even a one panel transition consisting of a hand grabbing a cup of tea that just screams “LOOK! THIS IS EITHER A VILLAIN DISGUISED AS A FRIEND OR A CHANCE TO HAVE AN ENTIRE CHAPTER DEDICATED TO HIS TRAGIC BACKSTORY AND HOW HE WAS ABUSED BY AN ORGANIZATION!”. We’re just missing an Uke Paddle hanging somewhere on the background and it’s 2005 all over again.
But you know what? It works. It really does. The Japanese influence makes every action scene become as fluid as a river attacking your face. The Eastern-like pacing means that we never have to suffer attacks of humongous blocks of text like the ones Marvel and DC have patented throughout their history.
This is a visual feast, where people are capable of emoting, are capable of exaggerating their mannerisms in order to make even something as banal as someone looking at their reflections on a pet store window have the weight of the world. This is a story that takes its narrative seriously enough to not get hung on the whole “our main character is a literal beaver with glasses” and have fun with it.
WAIT A MINUTE. A BEAVER? IS THIS A FURRY COMIC?
That’s your takeaway? Really? After all I wrote, your main concern is if this is a furry story.
Fine… It’s hard to tell, what with this being barely issue two, but I’m going out on a limb and say: no. It has an animal Protagonist, yeah, but I don’t think this qualifies as furry. I mean, is Space Jam a furry movie? Apparently it isn’t one despite gifting the world with Lola Bunny’s rabbit boobs. And if that ain’t furry I don’t want to know what furry really is.
SPACE JAM IS A FURRY MOVIE? WHY ARE YOU DESTROYING MY CHILDHOOD!?
Look, this is so out of topic I’m simply going to ignore it.
In conclusion, read Mr. Beaver #2. It’s freaking awesome.
Do it. DO IT NOW! And please tell me in the comments what I missed on issue 1 because I still haven’t been able to read it.