Mighty Mouse #5
Marvel (February, 1991)INKER: Marie Severin COLORIST: Evan Skolnick LETTERER: Brad K. Joyce EDITOR: Fabian Nicieza “Mices On Infinite Earths” conclusion WRITER: Michael Gallagher PENCILER: Ernie Colon Bat-Bat: “Everyone’s A Critic” WRITERS: Mike Kanterovich & Tom Brevoort PENCILER: Mike Kazelah
How do you screw up a finale to a “Crisis On Infinite Earths” Parody and yet do something cool? Somehow they did that but it’s mostly in the hero choices. I grant you that Mighty Mouse prior to the Bakshi series didn’t have a large supporting cast and he (as far as I know) was the only superhero Terrytoons had. However, it’s not like Marvel only had to choose from this. I understand Bat-Bat and even the League Of Super Rodents (represented by Gas Gopher, Bernie Badger, and The Rampaging Sloth and if you don’t know who they are I had to research them myself–trust me, you missed nothing!). They also brought back Samor the Sub-Plotter. And they grab Strongman, from the Mighty Heroes, a Bakshi series from waaaaaaay back that as far as I remember was never in the Bakshi Mighty Mouse cartoon. He’s also human, not anthropomorphic in nature. Do you know who they should have used? SPIDER-HAM! For crying out loud, Marvel, you have an entire anthroverse you yourselves created and you never tap into it? You made a parody of one of your characters in this series so it’s not like you were sticking to DC parodies like Bat-Bat. No, you use The Cow, a superVILLAIN from the Bakshi MM cartoon. Why?
And then you don’t really show us the allies fighting the Anti-Minotaur (and I’ll get into why in a moment) and barely show us the revenge fight between Mighty and Mangy Mouse. The only saving grace of this story is that the Minotaur, seeing the others getting beaten down by his counterpart, uses his power to bring Supermouse out of obscurity to destroy the antimotor. You see, Supermouse was the original version of Mighty Mouse, being a Superman parody. But as Fawcett Publishing can attest to, DC/National was rather sue-happy at the time so a few episodes in they changed his name to Mighty Mouse (and changed it in narration retroactively) and changed the blue of his costume to the more famous yellow. This twist was great and it’s my favorite part of the story. The Minotaur erases everyone’s memories of the event, but Mighty Mouse’s super mind still remembers the events and Mighty Mousette and Mangy Mouse. Sadly I don’t think Mangy returned before the comic was cancelled, which is too bad.
The real burn here is that the story was cut short for a Bat-Bat story. How do you not fill the whole comic with the conclusion? We had two epic fights to show, one between the allies and the Anti-Minotaur showing how badly they were getting beat up and one between Mighty and Mangy showing Mighty having to hold on to who he is versus his desire for payback on Mangy. You had enough for a full comic at least and instead we get a tale where Bat-Bat is worried about a trio of movie reviews, parodies of Gene Siskel, Roger Ebert (who in hindsight wearing a turtleneck is uncomfortable considering his medical issues near the end of his life) and Gene Shalit turned into Dick Tracy villains, panning his new movie. It turns out to be Clive Barkman, a horror director who wants to try being a movie reviewer because he thinks they’re kind of the same thing. Basically, it’s a shot at reviewers and as one I’m bothered enough by that. They’re also humans when this is supposed to, again, be an anthropomorphic universe (we just cut short a story about that) and Clive walking around in a dog costume with a sandwich board sign reading “who is Barkman?” (obvious reference to Darkman) is not funny. And THIS tale is what cut short a better story. Guys, I don’t need help not liking Bat-Bat. You didn’t have to cut off the better story to do that.
So this was a disappointment. What could have been a good parody is ruined by being cut short, a major casting goof, and only saved by trivia. It’s sadly not worth getting the past two issues after all because it will only end in pain. Seriously, who do I yell at for this? Gallagher? Nicieza, Tom Defalco, the Editor-In-Chief at the time? Whose decision led to this failure? I really want to know. Somebody get me Brian Cronin!