Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Fairer Sex, Part XVII: MaxiMage #6

Always StayFree and Ultra Thin, MaxiMage!

In 1995, Image tried to hop on the Sorceress Supreme wagon with their own take on a mystical superhero. The result of this decision was MaxiMage, a Liefield concept that was to last a scant seven (some sources say ten, but those sources don’t provide pictures) issues before being dispelled. Tell me I’m not the only one who reads the title and thinks someone was playing around with Max (as in Maximum) Image?

Eric Stephenson began as the scripter on the book, a position that he wisely vacated to make way for William Messner-Lobes. Stephenson made a much smarter move to work in the background of Image, and in 2008, made the jump from Executive Director to Publisher of the whole ball of wax. He filled the shoes of the departing Erik Larsen. 

Issue 6 that I hold in my sticky little hands is a mixed-up tale if ever there was one. 

I was always fond of Messner-Loebs due to his work on the relaunched Flash series that brought Wally West to fame. It is also hard to kick a guy like Bill since he’s a talented writer and artist even though he only has one arm. Messner-Loebs right arm was amputated in infancy due to a cancerous tumor. I can’t spare MM#6 just because the writer has a physical disability, however. I never spared writers of other works when they have obvious mental disabilities, so no one catches a break. Sorry, Bill.

As our issue opens, we find MaxiMage and her mentor, The Ancient, hiding out in their subterranean lair. Earning a mark under the category of “Crap I wouldn’t believe I’d ever see in a comic”, MaxiMage is shown petting her companion Sluggsy, a giant glob of green snot with the head of a dog wearing goofy antenna. Take a look for yourself.

Why are they hiding, you may ask. Is it because Animal Control doesn’t take to huge dog-headed plies of sentient lime jello? Perhaps that’s partially the reason, but the main cause of their concealment is that The Ancient has the embarrassing habit of turning anyone he touches into a piece of hard rock candy. I think he’s also worried about MaxiMage’s propensity for public nudity.

I might be wrong on the public nudity part. It’s hard to interpret what The Ancient means here. He must have something against prostitution however, as he sends MaxiMage the “hundreds of feet” to the surface to stop a “transaction”.

So the super heroine prevents this "John" from getting his jollys off and costs the ho half a c-note. Justice has prevailed! Okay, so the John does pull a gun on them both and demand his pussy. MaxiMage uses her power to zap  the guy to Antarctica. Looks like not only his balls will be blue in color. 
And speaking of blue in color, a magical blue hologram of The Ancient appears telling MaxiMage that she screwed up.

Oh, crap! She was suppose to protect the gun wielding John from the lethal infestation of genital herpes that the prostitute is carrying! Well no, not really. Maxi was suppose to help save this distraught scientist guy who’s threatening to smash a vial containing a newly-created vaccine. Why would he do that?

Awww. He just misses his mommy.

Course he’s also bat-shit insane from overwork and lack of sleep. When MaxiMage appears he flips his wig even further. 

It’s about here that the story starts to get in the way of the plot. This nut case will become MaxiMage’s project for the remainder of the issue. She takes it upon herself to save basket case boy from himself. But first she needs to save that vaccine, which he tosses in hopes of shattering. Maxi does her best Michael Irvin impression (no, not snorting cocaine) and saves it. Only then does she notice something.

Ooops! Boy is his face red. If that vial had busted it would also be covered in fluid filled blisters. But MaxiMage saved him and everyone in a three county area. So of course our scientist is remorseful and does what anyone would do: grab one of the police officer’s guns while claiming that no one there deserves to be alive and waving it around. Maxi disintegrates him.

What she really does is teleport him away so the cops don’t plug him. My thoughts are she should have let them put the guy down. Either way everyone reacts like she poofed our insane chemist to death. The dialogue in this book is almost as wacky as the story. That “sword of mystic blah-dee-blah” line is just so out of place. Who talks like that? And if you think the story isn’t wacky, just hold on to your hats.

Dwayne, our mixed up scientist ends up in a park in west Hollywood. Maxi shows up in her civilian identity and convinces him to drop the gun. A pair of homeless guys in the park get involved in their conversation because Dwayne can’t keep it together. Lori (MaxiMage) had an awful relationship with her alcoholic mom and decides to help poor Dwayne by bringing his dead mother back to life. 

Watch that flick of the wrist up there because that’s when this book goes off the deep end.

You’re seeing that correctly: Dwayne’s mom comes back as a giant praying mantis that can talk and wears a pink poka-dotted kitchen apron. At least you can say the book isn’t predictable. In fact, I have no idea where this book is going next.

Why didn’t our sorceress bring Dwayne’s mom back as a person? I have not a clue. She seems as mystified as I do. Not only that but she can’t get rid of her either. Nor does Dwayne want her to. Maxi gets a bit testy and then everybody goes and gets hot dogs. Including the giant talking praying mantis wearing a frilly apron. See, I told you this book was going to veer into uncharted waters.

Maybe this is some kind of metaphorical way for Lori to deal with her own mother’s neglect and absence is the best excuse I can come up with. Lori’s mom bugged her, and that’s the template she’s drawing from here. A mother figure in her mind is seen as a pest that will eat its own mate. That’s why she created Dwayne’s mother in that form. And then they eat hot dogs. And the hot dogs symbolize…yeah, I got nothing here. 

Anyway, while they are all chowing down on the franks, Lori has this long extended flashback to her own mother, who was a worthless alcoholic who ruined every second of Lori’s childhood. Ahh, those were the good ole days. Days that didn’t include lunching with smelly bums and giant bugs.

And somehow these flashbacks lead Lori to wander with this group to the neighborhood where she last heard from her Mother, which conveniently is located a mere panel boarder away. It’s like she wasn’t even thinking of going there either. It’s just “Whoops, here we are at the last address where my Mother lived, who I just happened to be thinking and talking about.” Then suddenly they are accosted by gang members, who are not dissuaded by a giant flesh-eating insect. Very ballsy gangmembers, is all I’ve got to say.

Lori has the Earth split open and swallow the Russian mafia gangstas then proceeds to barrel headfirst into their hideout. What she finds is their leaders who are harboring a big chained up mutant guy. They sic him on Lori, now in her MaxiMage outfit. When suddenly muscle-mutant turns on his captors and beats them senseless. Why?

I wasn’t sure when they attacked the group walking around with the 20-foot tall preying mantis in it, but I am now. These guys are complete idiots. Maxi does find her mother upstairs, half-dressed and drunk off her ass. That’s where the issue ends, but the next issue teaser takes the cake. It’s called “Sex Slaves of Bomba Island”. Sadly that doozy of a title didn’t keep MaxiMage on the shelves nor did it find it's way into my clutches.

So the issue is all the way off the rails, but in an entertaining way. If you are doing shrooms or want the comicbook equivalent of doing shrooms, I highly recommend it.

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