By Jonathan Edwards
Okay, maybe I need to stop letting morbid curiosity get the better of me after already deciding I don't like a book. Because, I may have hated last issue for its boring, surface level nonsense, but this one pissed me off almost immediately. The crux of the story is meant to be the juxtaposition between the cartoon world and the "real" world, but here the latter relies at least as much on clichés and plot convenience as the former does, so the only real distinction between the two is the difference in art style. And really, given the current political climate, how tone deaf do you have to be to have a character describe an cartoon alien cat invasion as "the worst terrorist incident in years"?
The tropes start immediately with the all too common scenario of Mighty Mouse going to fight the invaders but demanding Joey stay put because he's a kid and could get hurt. But, this immediately runs us into another problem as well. One of internal logic. Last issue, both Joey and Mighty Mouse discovered that MM's cartoon physics were transferred to the bully when he was punched, leaving him more or less physically unharmed, if mentally scarred. So, wouldn't the same be true of the cat aliens and their weapons? I mean, they are somehow unaffected by human weapons to the point that bullet holes just immediately regenerate, so shouldn't people be similarly cartooned by their weapons instead of harmed? The funny thing is, I think that might actually be intended to be the case. There's a throwaway line from a news report stating the lack of any actual fatalities despite the hefty amount of damage to the city. So if that was the intention, too bad they relegated it entirely to the sidelines instead of actually showing it. Because, God knows that might introduce a shred of something interesting to this book, and we certainly can't have that.
Although, there is someone that has faith in Joey's abilities. At least I presume that's why Betances, one of the two police officers that showed up at Joey's door wanting to question him, goes back to ask the elementary age child why aliens are invading. Okay, to be fair I guess it makes a bit of sense. Joey just talked to her about Mighty Mouse, and now Mighty Mouse is helping the police fight the cats. Except, it still feels like plot convenience. Why didn't anyone try and ask Mighty Mouse what was up before he whooshed off to fight alien cats? Hell, why didn't MM himself give them some sort of briefing. Why is Betances certain enough that Joey will still be at home to abandon the frontlines. Isn't it the middle of a school day? Wouldn't it seem just as likely that, even if he was home, he fled when the aliens attack? But most of all, the visit from her and her partner never felt justified. So even though it makes enough sense that she might think Joey knows something, it's foundation wasn't well explained. The sins of the father and all that.
The art is really losing me now. More times than not, the human characters in the midst of this issue's "action" look like lifeless mannequins. The colors are all over the place and not well thought out at all. And, there are multiple legitimate errors. For example, in the panel depicting Colonel Morrissey's reaction to the cats brushing off a missile strike, he's colored blue like Police Captain Jecznyk standing next to him instead of the olive green camo he's supposed to have. The perspective gets weird when Mighty Mouse says he's going to shield the military from the cats' ray blasts. And by "weird" I mean it looks like they're straight up flying past him, and there's even an explosion in the background to really reinforce the idea that he's not shielding dick. Also, there's at least one instance of him punching in one direction and the alien cat punchee's head is moving in the opposite direction.
Another hugely annoying trope on display is the military. They're written about as hackneyed and one-dimensional as you can get, with Colonel Morrissey flat out refusing to let Captain Jecznyk tell him anything about the invaders because "the big boys are here now" and he'd rather see for himself what they're up against. Aside from that being a dickish and flat out stupid way to portray to the military, it doesn't even make sense. Morrissey should already have been briefed about what they're up against. But even if he wasn't, there is zero reason for him to refuse to hear Jecznyk out. It's a blatant attempt to add artificial conflict by making Morrissey an asshole when he really doesn't need to be.
I have two parting questions for Mighty Mouse #4. First, why does Mighty Mouse need help fighting the alien cats? Think about it, Mighty Mouse stopped them in the original cartoon they came out of, so why is he now incapable of doing so by himself? Second, why the hell has nobody heard of Mighty Mouse except Joey? I'm a goddamn millennial, and I know who he is. Someone, anyone, give me a single good answer to either of these questions. In the meantime, fuck this issue, and fuck this book. I honestly can't tell if I'm completely done with it now or if I've been reinvigorated to come back for at least one more review. Regardless, what you should is simple: don't buy this book. Period.
Mighty Mouse #4