Mysterius The Unfathomable #3
Created by Jeff Parker and Tom Fowler
DC Comics – Wildstorm
This is a limited run that should continue because of all its eye-popping intelligent goodness. An old school magician, turns out to be a real wizard, pals around with beautiful young women, likes antiques. Sounds good so far and it only gets better.
In issue 3, we find our wizard, Mysterius, hot on the case with his lovely and wisecracking assistant, Delfi. His client is eager to rid himself of a witch’s curse and this has led the sleuthing duo to Grant’s Tomb just as it blows up.
You can see Tom Fowler, the artist, embrace the MAD Magazine tradition of exaggeration and turn it into his own in the ongoing strip for MAD entitled, Monroe. And you see his style in full bloom in Mysterius with a gorgeous cinematic kick as his talents blend with the writer, Jeff Parker. This series howls with life. The explosion at Grant’s Tomb propels the characters in all directions with the witches making their getaway in a hatchback. But, hold on, captured perfectly in one panel: out of the rearview, the witches spot Mysterius tauntingly holding up the idol they all seek.
The energy never lets up in this multi-textured series. You get all sorts of little asides: a bunch of hippies off on a road trip, a sidewalk con artist outwitted at cards. The atmosphere is palpable. You even get a book within a book, held up for you to see, full of crazy art and incantations.
The story of Vic Chesnea is further explored. He was the first client we got to know in issue 1. He is in limbo, one part in hell and the other clinging to reality. This is the result of a séance led by Mysterius. Although it really wasn’t his fault, Mysterius finds himself further and further involved in bringing Vic back and making sure all the ugly ghoulies from hell stay put.
We get a generous helping of these ghoulies. It is an ambitious depiction successfully executed. Mysterius and his team are frantically dripping candle wax to ward off evil spirits, as the mansion fills up with fog. Then, from the mail slot, the first demon strikes Delfi. Erika grabs a sword. And Mysterius yells out, “Yes, now whack that tongue off my assistant!” This is a lot of fun. It is just as good, if not better, than some of the best movies with goofy demons, including Ghostbusters. Come to think of it, a movie pitch for Mysterius would have to say, “leading man role of wizard playboy suitable for Bill Murray.”