Friday, 16 September 2011
AMA #13: "Evil Is All In Your Mind!"
("All the fun of the fur.")
This is a bit of a disappointment after the last two strong issues, I'm afraid. It's all just too convenient and unexplained. Why did Mastermind fooling Beast into thinking he murdered Iron Man then give Beast amnesia? Why does Beast, having joined up with Mastermind, Blob and Unus because they claim to want to help ensure "peace and freedom for all", immediately then agree to help them steal a diamond? Englehart's subconscious is clearly telling him there's something not quite right with this set-up - Beast even goes so far as to tell himself "[T]here's no time for thinking now -- there's just time to -- GO!!". This violates another of the great rules of writing: if your characters explicitly admit that what they're about to do doesn't make sense to them, then you have a problem, even if Beast's mind is churning faster than New England's "kittenishly" swirling fog (now there's a word you don't see in comics enough).
That's to say nothing of how much the cliched "selective amnesia" storyline annoys me. How can Hank have no memory of himself, but know who Boris Badenov is?
We're also getting further from the basic idea of James Bond as angry monster idea the first two installments played with (almost kittenishly). Having the mutants hide out at a carnival clashes somewhat with the industrial espionage angle (and yes, I know there was a circus in Octopussy, but that film is shit on toast). It also means that the scenes which don't involve Beast are the most interesting - not a good sign - with an Air Force investigator arriving to help with security (much to Linda Donaldson's annoyance) and the arrival of a mystery woman who is putting her hope in Hank (Vera, maybe?)
I do like Mastermind's plan, at least. Clearly (despite his boasts) he can't create an illusion of a diamond convincing enough to fool a true expert, so letting them examine a real diamond and hitting them with an illusion afterwards is nicely sneaky, as is "selling" the same diamond multiple times (though presumably word will get out eventually about what's going on). Locking Blob and Unus into a tight cage where their powers work against each other (in effect, creating a sickeningly jiggly perpetual motion machine) is a lovely idea as well. It just requires too much silliness to set it up.
This story takes place over a night and a day.
Pat Baxter complains that the "April showers" are giving her a cold. That's an interesting line, considering the issue was released in July. Maybe Engelhart was working ahead of time. Either way, this presents us with a problem. It doesn't sound like Pat is being anything other than literal, which means we're going to have to fast forward the timeline by some six months. I don't think this will last, actually, since AMA #16 is a Halloween issue, which will drag us right back to October.
For now, though the revised timeline for AMA is:
AMA 11. The Beast!: Monday 30th March, 1981.
AMA 12. Iron Man: D.O.A.: Monday 30th to Tuesday 31st March, 1981.
Tuesday 31st March to Wednesday 1st April, 1981.
X+3Y to X+3Y+1.
US President Ronald Reagan recovers in George Washington University Hospital after being shot in the chest by John Hinckley, Jr.
"Hey -- watch the puddles! These trunks aren't a bathing suit!" The Blob reminds us that a massive obese man can only pull off being all but naked in public if they remain dry at all times. Good to know.