Sunday, March 8, 2009
Comic Review: Impossible Man Summer Vacation Spectacular #1-2
The Impossible Man has an interesting history: he first appeared early in the Fantastic Four, seeming very out of place in this world of comic book "reality". It's one thing to have invisible, flaming, stretchy, and rocky-skinned people bandying about battling felons in long pajamas. It's another thing entirely to have a green-skinned space imp capable of 'popping' himself into any form imaginable, with a love of bad puns and a never-ending Rolodex of practical jokes. Like a Skrull raised on Three Stooges films, or Superman's silver-age Mr. Mxyptlyk--only instead of saying his name backwards, you have to bore him to get rid of him.
A bit silly, sure, but he was done-in-one, and the Fantastic Four were glad to be rid of him. But then he cropped up again in Marvel Two-in-One and again with the Silver Surfer. Then, in 1990, someone had the bright idea of dropping him back on Earth for his very own special. This time he brings his wife the Impossible Woman and his 5,000 or so Impossible Offspring. They raise a lot of harmless hell, meeting (or Impostering) numerous familiar faces along the way. When the vacation is over, they realize that they lost one of the many children back on Earth, and so issue #2 sees Mr. Impossible rushing back to find him.
Yeah, there's only the most rudimentary of plots here, but that's okay. The draw here isn't meant to be the story, but the humor. Every panel has a joke somewhere in it, so it's rapid-fire, which means there are an equal number of hits as misses. Humor isn't new to the Marvel Universe, but this borders on slapstick. It's Naked Gun or Hot Shots set in the funny pages, and not nearly as amusing today as I remember it--granted, I'm 18 years older and the pop culture references are now 18 years more dated. The 64 pages per issue is a bit of overkill--humor like this is more easily digested in bite-sized morsels--but as far as distractions go, you could do worse.
The end of the 2nd issue contained an affidavit that the reader was supposed to sign and return to the Marvel editorial offices, requesting the Impossible Man to receive his very own regular series.
Needless to say, we're still waiting.