Invader Zim #1, "The Returnening"
Written by: Jhonen Vasquez
Illustrated by: Aaron Alexovich, Megan Lawton, and Simon "Hutt" Troussellier
Published by: Oni Press
Format: Softcover, 6.5 x 10.25, 32 pages, Full Color, $3.99
You know that famous line by Arnold Schwarznegger in the Terminator movies? "I'll be back!"
Well, my friends, I am more than impressed and uber-excited to tell you about another alien that is most certainly back. Invader Zim.
Oh yeah, if you know about Zim (he has a HUGE and previously devoted fan-base from his days as a Nickelodeon cartoon created by hyper-clever Jhonen Vasquez, a fan-base that has clamored and petitioned for his return for years), you already know.
"You might know of my mighty awesome-NESS!," Zim might say.
If not, his reappearance is summed up by a new and well-suited Zim fan for you, "Recap Kid." Recap Kid quickly and Zim-like fits right in and brings you up-to-date on our character and his plans to conquer the mediocre planet of Earth.
In his rebirth in comic book format (brought to readers by Oni Press) Zim is still trying to conquer the puny and pathetic Earth and all of its Earthlings, of course enlisting the help of his famous co-conspirator-sidekick and beloved G.I.R. For all of you previous fans, "Burritos!"
In his all-new comic rebirth fans and sure-to-be-recruited new fans will find Zim with an all-new plan to invade the Earth.
Starting with his nemesis Dib it seems like Zim hasn't tried any of his antics for years. This alone is a witty aside clearly meant for Zim fans who have indeed been waiting for years.
Whether new or familiar readers, though, this new set of adventures begins at the residence of Professor Membrane (Dib and Gaz's father). Dib discovers that Zim has been hiding in pseudo-hybernation from inside his alien-house's toilet. But do not fear, Dear Reader, for Dib has remained vigilant (and is now very smelly!) and found Zim as he – insert snicker here – reemerges as Earth's biggest threat, or so Zim and Dib think.
As Zim and Dib prepare themselves for an all new set of adventures Zim must first find out everything the Xliactian knows. Who is the Xliactian? Does she really hold the feared and legendary secret(s) to finally conquer the Earth?
Welcome, the much-awaited new set of Zim stories . . . . As an already devoted fan I would tell you more, but it's too good, TOO GOO-OD!!! . . . .
Plus, I've already vacuumed sealed this treasured first issue, and I'm not getting it back out. I'm thinking museum glass is already necessary. "Yes, that GOO-OD!!!"
English Language Arts Elements of Story
Plots: Invader Zim is back! Of course Dib is ever-determined to save the Earth from Zim's invader tactics; he's been waiting. Gaz isn't too worried though, as usual, and Gaz and Dib's famous scientific father ("Professor Membrane") is oblivious to his children's dangerous plots or lack thereof that Zim poses if he gets ahold of the merely legendary secrets of the Xliactian.
Wow, that last sentence was long. But it certainly brings you up-to-date so I am not revising it. If I were Zim I'd be mighty "PR-ROUuuuuu…DDDDD!" of it.
Major Characters: Invader Zim, G.I.R., Dib, Gaz, Professor Membrane, Computer, Recap Kid, the Tallest and the IRKEN empire, the mysterious Xlliactian and her legendary secrets.
Settings: Membrane residence, Zim's house, Skool (yes, trust me I spelled it correctly in a right-smart and memorable pun from Vasquez about teaching with phonics alone), Zim and Dib's neighborhood and city, space
Themes: past-present-future, identity, legends, rivalries, patience, planning and scheming, individual and community, man verse alien
Reading Recommendations Using the Common Core Standards For Young Adult Readers
Key Ideas and Details
1. Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
2. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
3. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
* The number(s) referenced above corresponds to the number used by the Common Core Standards (www.commoncore.org)
Lesson Idea for Young Adult Readers:
In order to comprehend the story, both new and newly recruited Zim fans must understand each character and the key ideas and details that inform his/her motive in the story.
In short, characterization and plot should inform the reader's understanding of this first comic book issue of Invader Zim
The following timeline asks readers to note the progress of the plot and each character's motivation.
On the top of the timeline readers can record each character's various appearance(s) and actions (thus motivations) in the plot. Readers can record the plot motives and actions that correspond to each character appearance below the timeline.
Dr. Katie Monnin is an Associate Professor of Literacy at the University of North Florida. Besides the joy that comes with reading comic books and graphic novels, Dr. Monnin enjoys a Peter Pan-ish life of researching and writing her own books about teaching comics, graphic novels, and cartoons: Teaching Graphic Novels (2010), Teaching Early Reader Comics and Graphic Novels (2011), Using Content-Area Graphic Texts for Learning (2012), Teaching Reading Comprehension with Graphic Texts (2013), and Get Animated! Teaching 21st Century Early Reader and Young Adult Cartoons in Language Arts (2013); Teaching New Literacies in Elementary Language Arts (in press, 2014). When she is not writing (or sitting around wondering how she ended up making an awesome career out of studying comics and graphic novels), Dr. Monnin spends her time with her two wiener dogs, Sam and Max.