Friday, April 1, 2016

Mr. Mxyzptlk #1 (1998)


Mr. Mxyzptlk #1 (February, 1998)
"Invader From the 10th Dimension"
Writer - Alan Grant
Penciller - Tom Morgan
Inker - Scott Koblish
Letterer - Janice Chiang
Colorist - Glenn Whitmore
Asst. Editor - Maureen McTigue
Editor - Joey Cavalieri
Cover Price: $1.95

When I think of April Fools Day, I usually furrow my brow think of how un-fun it is to browse the internet on this day.  You gotta brace yourself for all the news that's fit to fool, and take eeeeeverything with a grain (or shaker) of salt.  Well, not here!  Here, we are going to review and discuss a one-shot featuring Superman's most enduring and endearing prankster.

I think we'll be safe in his minuscule mitts.  I mean, what's not to trust?

--



It's the Fifth Dimension!  We join Mxy and company as they go about their day.  Suddenly a tall woman with long dark hair enters the scene.  Smitten, the Mxy bunch all gathers around her, especially the artsy looking one with the beret.  Our lady compliments his good looks, and as they appear to be going in for a kiss... she swallows him whole.



This is no lady, it is the personification of the Tenth Dimension, the Ultimator!  The beast must eat other dimensions to survive, and four have already fallen... prey.

The Mxy bunch pleads with the beast to spare their dimension, even engaging in dance in attempt to please their would-be conqueror!



When all hope is lost, Mxy retreats to his odd-shaped home.  It is there that he keeps his magical comic collection with which, he hopes to defeat the beast!



First stop!  Logjam of Super-Heroes #100...



Once inside, our Imp finds himself in the middle of a Legi... Logjam roll call featuring such luminaries as Batter-Eater Lad, Butter-Eater Lad, Butler-Eater Lad, and Button-Eater Lad!  Mxy's sudden appearance catches the Logjamaires off guard, and before they can get an explanation, the Ultimator busts into the scene!

Despite the Logjamaire's best efforts and promises of eating buttons and butlers, they prove no threat to the Ultimator.  Rather than risk his own skin, Mxy pops out the back of the mag.



Next stop... JLA: Just-Us League of America #1...



Here we meet some proper heroes!  Souperman with his cans of chunky clam chowder, Gatman with his darkness gun, Wondering Woman who isn't quite sure what to make of things, and Martian Womanhunter who spits game at all the dames.  Once more, Ultimator makes short-work of the good-guys.  Supervillain, No-Brainiac is watching and pontificating... until he too becomes a snack.

Mxy then pops into Aquamint Man #27, featuring the King of Atlantis that replaced his missing hand, not with a hook... but with a toothbrush.  Mxy don't dig that... next stop, Young Heroes unLoved #0 (Izzat a Zero Hour tie-in?).  Seeing their book as too much of a sitcom, Mxy bails once again.



Jack Kirbptlk's Farce World #8 is next!  Mxy immediately finds himself lost in the miasma of continuity this book weaves and runs for the hills!



Finally, Mxy strikes gold.  After entering Lobo's Nephews #17 (which features the torture of Ziggy Starman! no less) Mxy enlists the aid of the Frag-tastic Four in his efforts to push back against the Ultimator.  Despite some of their best fraggin', the Li'l Lobos also prove ineffective against our dimension-eating foe.



In a great bit, Mxy writes the Ultimator's name backwards in attempt to get it to "pop" back to it's home dimension.



Last stop!  an issue of Zzzandman.



Mxy arrives only to find all of this issues's inhabitants asleep... all except the zzzZandman himself, Mopius!  Mopius goes into a purple soliloquy... that just will not end.



The Ultimator is soon fast asleep.  Mxy makes his escape, and seals the this issue in triple-strength mylar (imagine if CGC grading was a thing in 1998!).



Now, for the kicker.  It turns out this entire escapade was just a story Mxy was telling to (Electric-Blue) Superman and Lois Lane in an attempt at creating the best super hero adventure.  Superman and Lois pretend to have also fallen asleep.  Irritated, Mxy sends himself back to the Fifth Dimension... Leaving Lois and Clark to celebrate finally finding an easy way of ridding themselves of Mr. Mxyzptlk!



--

I know I probably say "this book was fun" a bit too much here on the blog... but, well.. ya know.  This book was crazy fun!  This book poked fun (somewhat playfully) at a lot of DC's late-nineties output, and showed readers what a strange time in DC history the late-nineties were.  This is that odd post-boom era, where titles were a bit more experimental.  Seeing a reference to Young Heroes in Love, especially, was a treat.

I do gotta wonder, how biting the commentary was meant to be.  Young Heroes in Love's sitcom/soap opera elements were, if I'm remembering correctly pretty well received... at least initially.  Jack Kirby's Fourth World was quite continuity heavy... I wonder if this was a sorta meta-commentary on that.  The Jack Knight Starman was one of those books I'd never have imagined would be parodied, especially during this vintage.  The Legion always appeared convoluted to me, so many "lads" "boys" "lasses" that it scared me off as a kid (hell, despite owning a few hundred issues of the Legion of Super-Heroes... I still don't get them!) So much interesting stuff!

As the cover so aptly illustrates, this story takes place during Superman's "Electric Blue" phase.  This is an era I am almost wholly unfamiliar with. but one I am quite interested in learning more about.  My Electric-Superman library is unfortunately quite spotty at this point in time, and I want to fill in a few of the larger holes so I can give it a fair shake.

This book is recommended for its novelty.  This is a parody-like nickel tour of the non-mainstream DC Universe circa-1998.  If you squint real hard, you may find you're looking at something of a time capsule.  Even if you only have a peripheral understanding of this era of DC Comics, the references made are not too "inside baseball".  That is to say, you'll probably "get" a lot of the gags... and you'll likely have a really good time.

Snap this one up, if you come across it!

Also, best of luck this April Fool's Day.  Don't take any wooden nickels... and remember if you hear some crazy rumors about... I dunno, Action Comics going back to it's legacy numbering this June... just take it with a grain of salt... ain't nothing nutty like that gonna happen any time soon... right?

--

Interesting Ads:

Sweet, New Smashing Pumpkins album!
Wait, what?
I looked at this ad for a full minute before realizing it wasn't for Twisted Metal


Remember that time in DC Comics where like EVERY back cover was for The GAP?
At least this one doesn't have a creepy kid winking at us!

2 comments:

  1. Awesome! This looks like something I have to check out!

    And I bet Mxy's house looks a lot better since it was circumcised.

    ReplyDelete

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