Leo Horovitz's Reviews > The Mask

The Mask by John Arcudi
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May 01, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: comics-and-graphic-novels, super-hero-comics, super-natural, fiction, humor, favorites
Read on May 01, 2011

A really amazing and unique story about a super natural mask that gives it's wearer amazing powers and seeming invincibility, but which also twists their mind and makes them do things they wouldn't ordinarily condone. The main character in the beginning is Stanley Ipkiss who discovers the powers of the Mask by accident when trying it on. Stan then goes on a revenge tour against all who have wronged him. The Mask later falls into other hands with less egotistic motives, but nevertheless, gradually twists the mind of it's new owner too.

The story is full of humor and strangeness. Just like in the Jim Carey movie adaptation, the Mask let's it's wearer change appearance, turn into all kinds of characters such as a barber telling a long haired mugger that he needs a hair cut and a carnival worker making balloon animals, and make objects appear out of thin air as he needs them. Unlike the Jim Carey movie, the Mask wearer turns not just silly, but violent and cold. The book is full of mayhem and gore, blood and guts. All of it displayed very graphically.

The comic presents a twist on classic super hero comics where the main character alternates between well meaning but violent vigilante which would make the Punisher talk about restraint, and dangerous criminal with personal motives, depending on the wearer and his current mood. It has a basically realistic setting (at least to the extent that any regular cop tv-show can be called realistic) of cops and crooks, mobs, crooked lawyers and bribed district attorney assistants. On top of this we have a layer of extreme unrealism with a main character who can take a shot through the head in one instant, and stand still making a joke in the next. The unrealistic elements are not even consistent. Sometimes, gun shots make a hole which then repairs in the next panel, sometimes a whole barrage of bullets fail to leave even a scratch. I'm saying all this as a compliment to the writers. They apparently decided to not stick to any specific set of powers and limitations, the reader never knows what to expect next from the Mask, there are no apparent limits.

This is the first collection of Mask comics and later, I'll tackle the second (and last?) one, we'll have to see if that one's as amazing as this was...
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