Or – “CRASH!! Secret Operations!”
Owen Craig has been transformed into a super-powered dynamo, had some adventures, and discovered the upside of superheroing. Now, with the aid of one Captain Gull, he’s going to hone his earth-shifting powers to be a better hero, and possibly even discover the secret of his abilities… assuming he can pass his math test. Your Major Spoilers review awaits!
Previously, on Mudman: After an ill-advised trespass on a mysterious house on the edge of town, Owen Craig has been transformed into Mudman, a superhero with the power to transform himself into mud, complete with costume of mysterious origins. He hasn’t spent a whole lot of time examining the whys and wherefores, though, as he’s been kind of enjoying himself in his new role. What do you bet that’s about to change?
“MAYBE I’VE GOT A MUD-SENSE THAT WARNS ME OF DANGER!”
The first three pages of this issue are an utter hoot, as Captain Gull (certainly not Sparrow, mind you) blindfolds him and leads him to the top of train trestle, which Mudman believes is encouraging him to use his other senses to compensate for the lack of vision. Instead, the Cap’n pushes him off the side and watches him go splat. Heh. Grist’s take on superheroes has long been fascinating to me, going back to his work on Jack Staff, and this issue is another example of a clever conceit with a decent story behind it. Even more impressive, Grist’s art manages to capture the raw power of Kirby’s Silver Age art-style without being retro or overly primitive. While Owen trains, his pal Newt runs into a few issues of his own, finding a mysterious case during one of his late-night “tagging” sessions, and quickly discovering that someone wants to retrieve it VERY badly…
“MAYBE I’M NOT THE KIND OF SUPERHERO YOU’RE LOOKING FOR…”
There was a time when Invincible was my go-to book for monthly old-school heroing, but as that book has aged, the universe-building has overtaken the day-to-day stuff that was a large part of the initial appeal. That has its positives (the Guardians of the Globe being one, with the major downside being… the Guardians of the Globe) but sometimes I miss these types of stories, with Owen dealing with problems at school, lying to his dad about his issues, and basically blundering about and learning about who he is as a hero. This issue kind of stalls out halfway though, with Gull’s training processes getting silly, Mudman standing up for himself and Newt disappearing under unusual circumstances. Even the cool bit with Mudman sculpting his own logo out of mud doesn’t quite make up for the sag, but the last page reveal helps to put it all back on track, setting up a conflict for future issues.
THE BOTTOM LINE: INTERESTING, BUT NOT AS EVENTFUL AS PREVIOUS ISSUES…
All in all, though, this is a strong issue of a fun title, a book that manages to balance adventure with some levity (something that DC might learn from) while making even the minor conflicts important within the confines of the characters’ world (something that Marvel might likewise take note of.) Mudman #6 is above-average, really suffering only in comparison to previous issues of the title, but still putting in a good enough showing to snag a respectable 3 out of 5 stars overall. If you like Invincible, if you liked classic Lee/Ditko Spider-Man, or if you’re looking for a comic that isn’t entirely focused on the next big crossover/gimmick/event, I recommend this book highly…
DID YOU READ THIS ISSUE? RATE IT!