Monday, April 5, 2021

Impossible Jones: Grin & Gritty!


Impossible Jones: Grin and Gritty! is a comic I supported via Kickstarter, and I am happy to have just read the book. It is a fun superhero tale about a thief named Isabelle who gets caught in some weird teleportation gizmo on a job, and days later she reappears altered, now with superpowers. She is a sort of combination of Plastic Man and Harley Quinn, and over the course of this book she learns more about her abilities and how to use them. She also has a pretty quick sense of humor, so although she experiences lots of danger she is pretty snarky about it all.

Impossible Jones can change her shape and appearance, which comes in handy for lots of the scrapes she finds herself in. Her first inclination is to go after her crew to get revenge for what happened to her, and as a result, she inadvertently gets affiliated with the local superheros of New Hope City. They are a motley bunch that include figures such as the Polecat, Even Steven, and Captain Lightning. Still not altogether altruistic, she thinks that the hero angle will provide her the perfect cover for occasional thefts, but she keeps getting thwarted by the schemes of villains like Mr. (Gila) Monster, Homewrecker, The Saint of Knives, and holiday-themed thief Holly Daze. 

As you can probably tell from this description, these comics are relatively light-hearted, action-dramas reminiscent of classic superhero tales. I would not call this book all ages, though my 5-year-old was very curious about it and kept sneaking over my shoulder to read it along with me. I think that the stories are well told, the world-building solid, and the characters appropriately colorful and interesting. I am particularly intrigued to see what will come of Even Steven, an enigmatic character who seems to be incredibly powerful and visually inspired by Steve Ditko-created characters like The Question

There were many moving parts in this book, and I found each of the four chapters to be exciting, engaging, and suspenseful. The ending is entirely open-ended, begging for more tales to be told in this universe. Impossible Jones is good, mostly clean, superheroic fun.

The main creators involved with this book are writer Karl Kesel and artist David Hahn. Kesel is a veteran of the comics industry since the 1980s as a writer and inker, having done the majority of his work at DC Comics on characters like Superman and Harley Quinn. Hahn is another comics veteran, best known for his work on the Bite Club series as well as Batman '66. Both creators speak about their collaboration on Impossible Jones in this interview.

I was not able to find many reviews for this book, but what I did find has been very positive. Edo Bosner wrote in the most direct way, “It’s really fun, you should read it.” It currently has a 4.6 (of of 5) star rating on Goodreads.

Impossible Jones: Grin & Gritty! was published by Panic Button Press, and they offer more info about it here. There is a Kickstarter for a follow-up comic book in this series happening right now.

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