Ang Astiging Boy Ipis: Reptullo’s Revenge (mike ignacio) [frances luna III]

The first review was for the original Bayan Knights spinoff series. This one is for the graphic novel (a TPR-length komik) first released this Summer Komikon, now under the Frances Luna III Illustration Firm. This is the prequel story.

Marty Pototoy is a high school student and a Maskarado fanboy. He is the newly-minted Boy Ipis, fighting petty crime in Baranggay Bagong Nayon, using cockroach-derived genetic powers. (This is the same guy as in the Bayan Knights spinoff; due to technical problems and the author growing up a bit, this is his name in this book.) It’s all fine and normal in Adobo Academy, until a major bad guy appears in his little town, Reptullo the mutant half-man-half-lizard with a legitimate grudge against humans. Unfortunately Marty is the only hero of any kind for miles, and this is his first chance to be a real superhero.

Both the art and the script have moments of being uneven. The art leans toward manga-style, with enough originality to be interesting. The script gravitates between American comic tropes and local cultural references, in a rather confusing mix. Overall I still think it should have been rendered in Tagalog, rather than English, but I suppose if he intends to distribute in the regional comic conventions using English was necessary.

Despite all the things I just said, this is still the work of a writer and comic artist who has grown over the years between the first work and this one, and it shows. This is still a well-paced story, spread across an appropriate number of pages. It’s impossible to hate a main character who both stays the same and changes so much across the pages. It’s impossible to despise such a cheesy bad guy who does have a heart, who does have legitimate reasons for revenge. It’s impossible to hate on a girl sidekick who does NOT have romance on her mind, and can kick occasionally better than the hero.

It’s hard to not compare this to the original work. However it is also unfair to the author to compare. Both are glimpses of a komikero with an original concept, and the dedication to see it through. It can only get better from here. Soon he won’t be the only one who can’t step on cockroaches ever again.


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