"Mime Over Matter"
Writer: Dan Slott
Artists: James Fry(p), Andrew Pepoy(i), Twilight Graphics(c)
Publisher: Mr. Comics
Dan Slott puts his bananas on the line with an independently produced labor of love called Big Max. Fortunately the reader with a sense of humor and adventure will return that love.
We learn in the dialogue that when patriotic archetype Old Glory retired, he left his legacy to Big Max, the friendly looking ape waving on the cover. This is the scene that really sets the mood for the off-kilter book. Big Max in context is not quite comedy. It's certainly not meant to be serious. It's meant to be a fun, super-hero book, and it succeeds.
Where as Mojo Jo-Jo is a figure of comedy, Max is a figure of heroism. Where as Monkeyman and O'Brien was a rather pofaced super-hero book, Max himself is a pretty happy go-lucky flying powerhouse of truth and Justice. While we're on the subject, while there is an Anne in Max's life, she's nothing like the previous Annes of the Kongs and Monkey Men past.
This issue of Big Max pits primate against cutpurse mime. Slott's imagination bursts through the pages, and if you take Max's world as is, you will find Slott's solutions to obvious problems such as, but not limited, to secret identity offer the reader clever and sensible outs.
It's easy to call Big Max old style super-heroes in a hairy suit, but that's not absolutely descriptive of Slott's style. Big Max is neither a Silver Age tribute or a jab at the dark age. Rather Slott balances genuine wit with action and sincerity.
The characterization and the character interactions are too thoughtful to consider Big Max a spoof, and the situations are too dramatic to suggest parody. Big Max is rather a straightforward super-hero comic with a strong cast and excellent artwork by James Fry and Andrew Pepoy that's just a little cartoonier than the duo usually contribute.
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