Impossible Man Summer Vacation Spectacular #1
Issue(s): Impossible Man Summer Vacation Spectacular #1
I don't know what possessed Marvel to put out an Impossible Man special, but it must have done well enough since they'll do another one next year. Personally, i find the Impossible Man to be as funny as a root canal, and even more disruptive. On the latter point, at least with something like this you know what you're getting and it's a bunch of isolated goofy nonsense instead of interrupting your Thanos epic or your Galactus vs. the High Evolutionary battle. But Marvel is going to use a book like this to plug the events of other series, so with all the guest appearances, for my project this issue becomes a hub where i have to line up the continuities of various unrelated characters just to accommodate a joke story. I know that's my own special little problem, but it does mean i'm sending a little extra hate the Impossible Man's way. Not that i didn't hate him already.
The premise, so to speak, is that Impossible Man and Impossible Woman, now with a horde of children (and, we'll see later, a dog named Ralf)...
...head to Earth for a vacation and annoy various Marvel characters and me. The horde of Poppupians split up upon arrival, with Impossible Man first going to Four Freedoms Plaza. But the Fantastic Four aren't home so he decides to bother Spider-Man instead. In a decent gag, some mileage is made of the fact that Impossible Man (usually) has to retain his green and purple color scheme when he transforms.
I would have liked to see that extended and made more explicit. Green and purple were the go-to color scheme for villains in the Silver Age (the Wrecker, the Molecule Man, Kang, Skrulls, the Hulk....). You'd have to go beyond Spider-Man villains (although the Beetle could have been included), but i would have been funny to point out how many villains use those colors. I guess that's always my problem with stuff like this. I'm looking for satirical commentary when we're really just getting wacky hijinx.
The next part features Impossible Woman, who meets Quasar and tells him that he can call her Impette. Her problem is a child ("Impia") that won't act wacky and transform like all the other kids. But then, in my worst nightmare, she meets Madcap.
The idea is that Madcap can use his "make you wacky" ray to "fix" her daughter. But instead he zaps Quasar, who goes on a silly rampage, burying the city in solid-light popcorn. The daughter heroically changes into a custard pie to smack him in the face and snap him out of it.
Then, this terrifying vision.
Next, Impossible Man goes to visit Dr. Strange. This is when we get to meet the dog.
Impossible Man briefly finds a kinship with Rintrah (i didn't know bulls ate chicken)...
...but quickly annoys even him. Dr. Strange gets rid of him by casting a Spell of Anticipation, allowing him to know in advance what the Impossible Man is going to change into.
Which makes the visit boring, so Impossible Man leaves.
Meanwhile, Impossible Woman has gone out to the West Coast for a story drawn by Butch Guice. Guice is still in 'tracing fashion models' mode, but this time the story is set at a fashion show. If he's going to be drawing models anyway, might as well do that.
One problem with Guice's current style is that it's so based on a specific look that the characters don't look like themselves. They all just look like every other woman that Guice is drawing.
Kind of ironically, the message of the story is that women come in all different shapes and sizes and there isn't one standard of beauty.
The most genuinely funny segment is a short one by Jim Valentino featuring an encounter between the Impossible Man and the Punisher.
It's just so ridiculous that the Punisher and the Impossible Man can exist in the same universe. I laughed at loud at that.
Next up, Dr. Doom is invaded by the Poppupian children.
Not just his castle. His very armor is invaded.
Doom convinces the children to leave by using reverse psychology to get them to think that Iron Man's armor would make a much better "clubhouse".
The next story is written by Peter David, and it's another story showing that David is funnier doing serious stories with humor in them than doing outright funny stories. The biggest gag is a giant Impossible Man using the Epcot sphere as a golfball...
...and then it descends into celebrity cameos and just bickering between Impy, the wife, and kids. The family then decides to leave Earth, and an epilogue has Impossible Man showing his vacation photos to the Skrull Empress.
Many brain cells died to bring you this entry.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: When Impossible Man first arrives on Earth, the Fantastic Four are not home, and a footnote generically points us to Walt Simonson's run (Fantastic Four #343 was probably the closest issue by publication date). But the Invisible Woman appears later in this issue. So i'm placing this directly after FF 343-346, with the assumption that they get home soon after Impossible Man's arrival. Dr. Strange mentions vampires, placing this after Doctor Strange #14-18. For the other characters, it's context free and just needs to fit in breaks in their regular books. I'm assuming Dr. Doom being at his "summer castle" and talking about international treaties does not mean that he's been restored to the Latverian throne. He still considers himself a monarch wherever he is.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showDr. Doom, Dr. Strange, Impossible Man, Impossible Woman, Invisible Woman, Iron Man, Madcap, Punisher, Quasar, Rintrah, S'Byll, She-Hulk, Spider-Man, Wasp
This is one of my favorite humor issues, along with the various Damage Control series and "Justice League Antarctica" annual.
Posted by: Thanos6 | May 13, 2015 7:50 PM
"Strange says that Impossible Man was a relief after vampires (Doctor Strange #14-18) and the Dread Dormammu (i'm going to assume Doctor Strange #1-2)"
Posted by: Michael | May 13, 2015 10:13 PM
Fnord, why do you do this to yourself? You sure have to suffer for your art.
Posted by: kveto | May 14, 2015 2:01 AM
When I originally saw this on the shelves I assumed it was just Marvel trying to do what DC had done with AMBUSH BUG. The difference is, I liked AMBUSH BUG and had no interest in IMPOSSIBLE MAN. Maybe it's because BUG was more weird than just straight-up "wacky".
Posted by: JP | May 14, 2015 2:09 AM
Rurik Tyler had previously done quite a few independent comics under the names "Madman" and "Bo Badman".
Greg Capullo had previously mostly worked on Fantaco's "Gore Shriek".
Posted by: Mark Drummond | May 14, 2015 10:55 AM
I can tell Peter David knows his Disney since Spaceship Earth landed in Typhoon Lagoon (as seen with the ship balancing on the mountain in the background) which opened the year before.
Posted by: EHH | May 31, 2015 12:17 AM
I just realized something that bothers me about the Impossible Man using Spaceship Earth as a golf ball while EPCOT is open and occupied.
By this point Impy is not so ignorant of humanity that he could think this is acceptable behavior, nor so malevolent or selfish that he would realize that but do it anyway. The Impossible Man may be annoying, but he's not the amoral type of trickster like Mr. Mxy. He basically means well.
More of Peter David's mean sense of humor.
Posted by: Thanos6 | January 21, 2016 11:14 AM
I have to say Dr. Doom proved himself a really brilliant bastard here.
Posted by: OverMaster | June 19, 2017 5:05 PM
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