In Bravest Warriors #35, writer Kate Leth and artist Ian McGinty gear up for the finale of their run by going to Catbug’s home planet? Yes, Catbug’s homeworld just happens to be in the belly of the same space shark as the Bravest Warriors and their spaceship. Leth and McGinty use this plot development to show a different side of Catbug’s psyche beneath his smiles, adorableness, and sassy side eye. Like a lot of people, he has issues with members of his family that get explored in a humorous, sometimes emotional way. Leth and McGinty use this spotlight on Catbug and his relationship with his relatives/fellow planet dwellers to add a new twist to what could be a conventional “put the thing in the thing and save the day” type of story that has sadly become a part of the third act of superhero and science fiction comics and films.
Ian McGinty and colorist Lisa Moore craft a double bacon cheeseburger of nostalgia with their artwork. Bravest Warriors #36 begins with the team looking out at the other planets floating in the belly of the space shark, and it’s Jack Kirby by way of Pendleton Ward with planets hurtling in a cosmic symphony. Moore’s colors are quite groovy in comparison to the more faded browns and sky blue for Catbug’s home planet. And Catbug’s home looks like something out of the Super Mario Bros with all kinds of platforms, pipe-like structures, and water. (Maybe a less ancient Egyptian version of Dry Dry Desert from Super Mario 64.) McGinty gives it a dying planet vibe by using a lot of open space and having the backgrounds go on forever while focusing on the characters’ facial expressions, like Danny having an epiphany or Catbug going from sadness about his planet being eaten to a smug “whatever” face.
Along with his facial expressions, Kate Leth adjusts her Catbug dialogue from plain adorable to sarcastic and passive aggressive. In the early going, he is definitely hiding something from the rest of the team and starts saying basically the opposite of his sunny sentiments, which is picked up by Plum and Wallow. Leth’s plot in Bravest Warriors #36 combines the high stakes space survival story of last issue with some relatable family drama and even some inter-team squabbling. But she and McGinty keep the mood light with a running gag of a big eyed Danny asking about multiple Catbugs and Catbug’s responses to the Bravest Warriors’ rescue plans.
As an added bonus to this Catbug-centric yarn, which fleshes him and his “people” out as characters, there is a funny short written by Paul Allor and drawn by Kat Leyh. They both worked on Bravest Warriors: Tales from the Holo John and tell a straightforward Bravest Warriors save a planet from monsters with a culinary twist. Allor earns some of the biggest laughs as he turns Wallow into an erudite philosopher while the rest of his teammates fight their hungry cactus shaped foes. Leyh uses a lot of speed lines and horizontal panels to keep the story moving as the Warriors jump from battle to battle. There’s a little twist towards the end, and it’s a fun addition to Leth and McGinty’s lead story.
Bravest Warriors #35 isn’t just a table setting issue as Kate Leth and Ian McGinty give readers a glimpse into the less cuddly side of Catbug and his place of origin. This isn’t a high action issue, but McGinty keeps things lively with energetic character movements and Leth gives Catbug some of her best zingers yet. Plus there are quite a few surprises, and this issue is a must read for all Catbug fans.