By Jonathan Edwards
Well what do you know, this is the last issue of this crappy little series. I was honestly expecting it to go to at least to a sixth installment, but thank God that’s not happening. Mighty Mouse has been a consistently subpar book, and it’s only gotten worse over the last few issues, including this one. No joke, it takes all of one panel for it to dive headfirst into shoddy plot convenience masquerading as metahumor. “You can only shoot a cartoon cannon twice if it’s funny!” Joey declares. Now, the sentiment there is clear, but if you actually stop to think about it for, I don’t know, a second, it becomes clear how much of an oversimplification of old school cartoon slapstick humor that is. Furthermore, the story’s internal logic isn’t even consistent enough to take that at face value if you wanted to. Later on, Joey creates a black hole by drawing it (more on that later, trust me) and says it will “suck up everything from the cartoon universe that doesn’t belong in our world.” Someone offpanel notes that’s not how black holes work and Joey simply replies, “mine does.” So, Joey, if you can ascribe characteristics to the shit you draw, then why can’t YOUR cartoon cannon shoot more than once without any prerequisites?
So yeah, as far as big climactic issues go, this one’s pretty piss poor. Joey can somehow draw things to life, or at least existence. Most of the time, the stuff he draws is created in the cartoon universe, and they must use a portal to withdraw them. However, in other circumstances, like with the goddamn portal itself, whatever he draws appears in the real world. Because the plot needs it there to progress. There’s also a point where Joey and Mighty Mouse paint a hole onto the ground that becomes a real hole when a group of the cat aliens walk over and subsequently fall into it, and then Joey and Mighty Mouse are somehow able to roll it up like a big carpet. So, is that Joey’s weird drawing powers? Or is that Mighty Mouse/the aliens imparting cartoon physics on real world thing, which a previous issue established was possible? Is it both? It might’ve been kind of cool if that had a more direct impact on the story. Like, seemingly innocuous actions are leveraged based on how cartoon physics would reinterpret them to defeat the aliens. And, it does seem like that’s the route they’re going to go down. Joey even says that cartoon physics is the way to beat cartoons. But then, Joey just draws cartoon weapons for the soldiers to use. It’s not like they’re especially ‘cartoony’ or require cartoon physics to exist, either. One is a normal-ass mallet, but Joey drew it, so I guess it hurts cartoons.
I still really don’t see why Mighty Mouse needs any help defeating the cat aliens when they’re originally from a cartoon in which he defeated them, but I’m even more confounded by just how many of them there are. Didn’t they have to come through Joey’s portal to get to the real world? Did literally the entire invasion force come through together? Later comments saying it’ll take a while to send them all back through the same portal suggests that’s not true nor possible. And in that case, how exactly did the larger mothership (which, I might add, we never even get to see more than glimpses of) get through? Additionally, shouldn’t Joey and Mighty Mouse have been able to minimize the exact number of invaders that got through by closing, shutting off, or destroying the portal? All of these unanswered questions leave the invasion with a constant sense of ambiguity. The audience is predominantly told about their numbers and wake of destruction, but what we see is only a few cats at a time, and they tend to be getting their asses handed to them when we do. There’s absolutely no tension, not even from the characters themselves and their reactions to the situation.
The art is still phoning it in. We get ANOTHER instance of the Colonel being colored blue like a cop instead of his proper green. Joey’s mom, who I’m pretty sure never actually gets a first name, looks off model from what we saw of her last time. At one point she supposed to be running out of the hospital she works at to find Joey after seeing him in the war zone on TV, but the two panels of movement we get make it look far more like she’s going for a casual jog. The montage of soldiers and police beating utilizing their cartoon arsenal is decent enough, but the design of the alien cat ruler is all kinds of meh. He’s pretty much just a bit bigger and a different color and completely fails to be threatening. Although, in a way that does match his writing, as he is suddenly introduced without my buildup, personality, or reason to think he won’t immediately get the shit kicked out of him.
At one point, Mighty Mouse saves a random girl that falls out of a window. I was sure she would come back in the end as some contrived romantic interest for Joey, but she doesn’t, so I have no idea why she was included at all. It’s not like we needed a reminder that Mighty Mouse is a heroic character. After the invasion wraps up, Joey is no longer being picked on and actually seems to be pretty popular. I’m not sure if the idea is that the kids saw him on TV helping fight the aliens, or if it’s simply because Mighty Mouse previously beat up his bullies. Of course, Joey sees them still picking on another kid, and someone tells him he shouldn’t try to stop the bullies now that they’re leaving him alone. Instead, Joey rallies some other kids to go beat them up. There’s supposed to be some sort of moral about “if someone needs help, you help them.” It’s rushed, superficial, and hardly has anything to do with what we’ve seen from the lion’s share of this series. So, there you have it, a pointless end to a worthless story. Don’t buy it. Don’t read it. Don’t bother with it at all.
Mighty Mouse #5