Sunil's Reviews > Flex Mentallo, Man of Muscle Mystery

Flex Mentallo, Man of Muscle Mystery by Grant Morrison
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's review
Apr 10, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: own, 2012

I have no idea what the hell I just read, but I think it's supposed to be mindblowingly amazing?

Flex Mentallo is difficult, even for a Grant Morrison comic. The ostensible plot follows Flex Mentallo, Man of Muscle Mystery, a fictional parody of Charles Atlas created by an in-universe Wallace Sage who then stepped out of the comic pages and became the fictional sense. Still with me? That's not even entirely relevant, since this Flex Mentallo seems to be living in a different world than the one in Doom Patrol, from whence he came. But it does make him the perfect character to use for Grant Morrison to get his Morrison on. So Flex Mentallo investigates some mysterious bombs that aren't really bombs and discovers that someone else from the pages of his comic may have become "real." Meanwhile, Wallace Sage, now a drug-addicted pop star is committing suicide and having an existential crisis, and all reality is about to come crumbling down. Excuse me: all realities.

All of this narrative is really a platform for Morrison to muse on the history of comics (Silver Age, Golden Age, Bronze/Dark Age, New Age), what comics mean to him (and humanity), what superheroes mean to him (and humanity), The Crisis on Infinite Earths and the role of the multiverse in fictional and "real" reality, where these ideas all come from, and what comic books and superheroes should be. It's bold and dense and hard to really grasp on a first reading. To be honest, I don't fully comprehend it all, and I don't want to put in the work to do so right now, but I know that Morrison is playing with interesting ideas that I would love if they were a tad bit accessible to me. As always, I respect his ambition, and even if I don't quite follow it all, I can still appreciate the great lines, gonzo superhero/supervillain creations, and fantastic art.

Let it be known, however, that Angelo, my pusher, gives it 6 out of 5 stars.

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