cover image Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery

Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery

Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. DC/Vertigo, $22.99 (128p) ISBN 978-1-4012-3221-4

This legendary epic in the oeuvre of the acclaimed Morrison/Quitely team (We3; All-Star Superman) is at long last available after legal troubles kept it out of print for years. Flex Mentallo is just one of dozens of secondary character in the acid trip of comic artist Wallace Sage, who is attempting to commit suicide on an industrial-strength drug cocktail while Flex and other super-powered beings attempt to save the earth from an all-consuming menace called the Absolute. The power of imagination is the most supreme force of all in this consummate comic saga, as Sage’s boy-incarnation becomes the most unlikely of possible saviors in this wacky existential epic. With more competing narratives and alternate realities than any string theorist could ever fantasize about, this comic is a difficult plod at times, the convoluted story line and laborious text requiring preternatural focus. Quitely’s art is unrivaled—the superabundant imaginative details going toe-to-toe with the artist’s stunning graphic flair. Morrison has attained a kind of metaphysical apotheosis with Flex, seemingly combining multiple competing realities until the difference between mind and matter withers into pure abstraction—but the gushing stream-of-consciousness text bubbles, and pervasive captions overburden the sizzling art at times. (Apr.)