18 October 2017

Tell a Good Story - Issue #6: Figment 2

Spoiler Free Synopsis: We find Figment and Dreamfinder right where we left them at the end of the first series, in the modern day approaching a building that looks suspiciously like Spaceship Earth. As the Dream Machine begins to have some trouble, the pair makes a hasty landing at the current version of the Academy Scientifica Lucidus. The Academy has changed, but friends and the enduring values that the Dreamfinder and Figment have remained. Of course, the modern course of creative academia is not without its trials.

Capri, Dreamfinder’s great-great-great grandniece has been trying to gain acceptance to the Academy, only to continually be turned away. She has the same wide-eyed sense of wonder and exploration that her ancestor, Dreamfinder, had, but she also possesses something he did not in his younger days, confidence. This is made all the more clear when Dreamfinder’s personal doubts of being able to live up to the expectations of him create a dark figment of his imagination, Doubt or the Doubtfinder.

Can Figment, Capri, and her figment of imagination, and flying cat-like creature known as Spark, free the Dreamfinder from Doubt’s clutches and save the world from the ever spreading disbelief and fear Doubt has been sowing? It’s going to be an all-out brawl between doubt and imagination, with only one crossing the finish line.

Disney Source Material: As we spoke to in the original series, Figment 2: Legacy of Imagination leans heavily on the original EPCOT Center attraction, Journey Into Imagination. In fact, I would go so far as to say that this series feels more like the descendant of that attraction that even the original Figment series from Disney Kingdoms. The darkest and brightest elements of the attraction may not be carbon copied in Figment 2, but their spirit is alive and well, from the spookiness of the literature scene in the attraction to the bright artistic nature of Capri in the series, there is plenty of bleed over between the two.

Spark, for her part, is new to the world of Imagination, but she is deeply rooted in the world of Disney. Specifically, she is the embodiment of song that enriches so many of the Disney animated and live-action films, as well as its theme park attractions. We could list each and every reference here, but where’s the fun in that. Rather, as you read through the series, make sure to take note of the classic songs, and their composers, that are given subtle, yet meaningful, nods throughout.

Marvel Storytelling: Figment 2 returns Jim Zub to the helm of the as the series’ writer. It is clear that he has spent quality time with these characters, and is returning to a place and a story he loves. In fact, it almost feels as if this is the story he was itching to tell throughout the entirety of the original Figment run. The storytelling is tight, the offshoots are less than we saw in the original, and each character has an arc that is worthy of her or his’ place in the tale.

Picking up the artistic duties is Ramon Bachs. Ramon has been around comics for quite some time, working for various companies and properties, including Detective Comics, Civil War: Front Line, Red Robin, Ultimate Spider-Man, and various Star Wars publications. There is less ambiguity with the artwork in Figment 2 than the original series, just pick up both stories and compare the detail work of the Dream Machine, and there is consistency amongst the characters’ portrayals that was lacking in the first run.

Last, but most certainly not least, Jean-Francois Beaulieu is our colorist. He has been a steadfast staple through most of the Disney Kingdom series, and his expert touch is once again a welcome sign.

Bonus Time: Similarly to the original Figment, Figment 2 has a wealth of concept and cover art. From action figure covers to character and scene development from the attraction, Figment 2 will feed your hunger for both art from the current series to those of you looking back into the annuls of Journey Into Imagination history. For those of you who love the history elements as much as I do, you need look no further than the opening letter, this time coming from Imagineer Tom K. Morris. For those unaware, Tom has had a hand in many of the projects we know and love in Walt Disney World. In fact, he was the designer of the Dream Machine! In his letter he speaks to the enduring legacy of Walt Disney, and how it relates to Figment and Dreamfinder. It is a letter worth reading and remembering.

Conclusion: Figment 2’s subtitle is Legacy of Imagination, and that is precisely what the series is. It picks up everything we hold near and dear from the attraction, or gives those who never had a chance to experience Journey Into Imagination a taste of what that must have been like. I said it earlier, but this feels like the story Jim Zub wanted to tell, but he had to set up our heroes and the world in which they reside, first. If I were given a choice, I would almost always pick up Figment 2 before going back to the original series, it is that much of an improvement in my eyes. The new additions to the cast make perfect sense, and fit right in to the story, without ever taking the emphasis off of the adventures of Dreamfinder and Figment. If this is your first stop aboard the Dream Machine, you are definitely in for a ride.

Further Reading:
Tell a Good Story – Issue #6: Figment 2

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