Review: Impossible Jones #1
Karl Kesel and David Hahn seem to be quite fond of 90’s cartoons. Their new comic, Impossible Jones, is often just a panel away from full motion and you can just see its world and characters being broadcast on TV screens, alongside the likes of Batman: The Animated Series and The Tick.
Impossible Jones isn’t just a love letter to those cartoons, though. It’s a comic with an edge that uses nostalgia as a springboard to come up with an inventive story about an accidental superhero that’s hiding a lot of bad under her secret identity.
Impossible Jones #1 kicks off the story of the titular character, a thief that acquires impossible powers—mainly elasticity, but also shadow manipulation and perhaps other skills yet to be revealed—and passes off as a superhero as she looks for her crew, the ones responsible for leaving her behind during the heist that led to her current predicament.
Kesel’s script does a great job of populating Impossible Jones’ universe with a well-rounded cast of characters that already feel storied, familiar enough to help the story move at a brisk pace without having to stop and dump copious amounts of exposition on readers. There’s a fair amount of fun poked at superhero conventions here as well, especially when it comes to character names (which include Holly Daze, Even Steven, and Polecat, all winners in my book).
The dialogue is kept snappy and agile, helping the story get to where it needs to without getting tangled up with specifics. It’s an economical approach not unlike that employed in individual cartoon episodes, in which the story bustles with activity but not at the expense of worldbuilding. It all unravels smoothly as the narrative progresses, providing just enough character development and plot to feel like a good chunk of story was provided. Fans of Kesel’s previous work, namely Section Zero, will find a lot to like here.
Hahn’s art is completely in sync with the grandiose aspect of the story and its pacing. His previous work on Batman ’66 makes this type of story play to his strengths and not a panel is wasted getting the most out of character interactions and action sequences. Tony Aviña’s colors make everything pop with a larger-than-life feel that captures the more fantastical elements of the story.
Hahn’s character designs also help with the fast and furious storytelling approach Impossible Jones brandishes. Each one wears a part of their story on their proverbial sleeves, another element that’s very present in cartoons given the short runtime the usually have per episode.
Something that surprised me from Impossible Jones’ origins, so to speak, was how much it reminded me of Dr. Manhattan’s in Watchmen. It’s a clever play on the character’s lab accident sequence that, whether intentional or not, made for a particularly memorable part of this first issue. It was good fun associating something as fast and furious as Impossible Jones with something as serious as the Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons book.
Impossible Jones #1 is a blast, in every sense of the word. It will satisfy readers searching for not-too distant nostalgia in their comics and readers looking for a creative alternative to the usual superhero offering on the shelves these days. To sum it all up, it’s a crowd pleaser.
Story: Karl Kesel Art: David Hahn Colors: Tony Aviña
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0
Recommendation: Buy and then go dust off those 90’s cartoons you recorded on VHS.
Scout Comics provided Graphic Policy with a review copy