Invader ZIM: Operation Doom

Invader ZIM: Operation Doom
With Invader ZIM creator Jhonen Vasquez publicly stating that he never intends to work in animation again, it's safe to say that the likelihood of the cult Nickelodeon series resurfacing in episodic or feature-length form is exceedingly unlikely. It's not much of a surprise since, despite its popularity, the show was plagued with behind-the-scenes battles over tone and content between studio execs and the creative team, given its overall dark nature, occasional political commentary and generalized, albeit hilarious, grotesquery. Perhaps this is why unnecessary releases like Operation Doom, which is merely a compendium of episodes already available on DVD from a different company, come to be. Presented in no particular order, this three-hour potpourri of episodes from both seasons gives an idea of the show, showing the titular ZIM — rejected from his home planet for almost destroying it — posing as a school child while attempting to conquer the human race. No one is aware of his true identity, save the paranoid Dib, whose Cassandra complex and ambivalent relationship with his father, Professor Membrane, take up entire episodes on occasion, often starring vengeful sister Gaz. Featuring swine-related humour, such as little girls delightedly ordering a pork meat-shake, the episodes typically feature insurmountable and undesirable tasks gone haywire. In "Battle-Dib," Dib faces a series of challenges, starting with written tests then escalating to robot-spider battle, just to have his father sign a permission slip for school. "Hobo 13" features a similar plotline wherein Zim is sent to an alien planet by the Tallest to lead a team through creature-filled swamps and over canyons as an aggressive reminder of his invader status. It's the extreme propulsion of each quest and the constant interjection of various references, obscure mutations and revolting cuisine that make this series stand out from other animated fare. Every frame has something unexpected, making for compelling viewing with solid repeat value. It's just unfortunate that there are only a handful of episodes to re-watch and that this set is little more than a poorly organized cluster of existing work without any supplemental material. (Paramount)