Review by Frank Plowright
The five members of the Super Animal Adventure Squad are charged with keeping the nation safe. So when, say, all cakes start walking out of every baker’s shop in the land, they’re the people you call. Especially if there’s a deadline such as the necessity to recover them all for teatime.
The cover tells you everything you need to know about Super Animal Adventure Squad: it’s very silly. It’s also very funny. Not quite as funny as James Turner’s later Star Cat, but certainly worth investigating in its own right. As there, a bunch of incompetents are placed in deadly circumstances where the stakes couldn’t be higher, and bumble through to save the day. Not before escalating the crises with their incompetence, though.
Take the case of the immensely valuable stolen jade baboon of Rangoon, concealing the magic baboon moon spoon of Rangoon, and beautifully drawn by Turner as possessing two red rubies representing buttocks. The Squad track the purloined object to a pirate ship, so have to disguise themselves suitably in order to slip aboard and mix in, all the while attempting to locate the jade baboon while avoiding the evil Captain Green Beard.
Turner has deliberately selected the most obviously mismatched creatures to heighten his comedy. A bee with the personality of a Raj-era emigrant flits around a pelican and the dimmest chameleon on the planet, while a robot, resembling nothing so much as a giant cabinet style TV from the 1950s rounds out the team. They’re led by Agent K, a cat, and the only one with an ounce of common sense.
The opening tale of the disappearing cakes is Turner finding his way. The whimsy is there, and so is the ability to present one ridiculously funny panel after another, but the plot still needs some fine tuning. A little more practice with what were originally weekly serialised pages, and everything meshes that little bit more finely for ‘The Case of the Baboon Bandit’. There are more laughs from ever more ridiculous situations and constantly inventive gags.
Viva James Turner!