WRITER: CHRISTOPHER CANTWELL | ARTIST: PATRIC REYNOLDS | PUBLISHER: DARK HORSE | FORMAT: SINGLE ISSUE | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Jim Carrey is not The Mask. Ubiquitous in the nineties with his bright yellow zoot suit, Bugs Bunny pop-eyes and sssssmokin' catchphrases, Carrey's Looney Tunes-inspired Stanley Ipkiss was, for all his iconoclasm, a complete bastardisation of the character. The real Stanley Ipkiss was an abusive, resentful monster; more the Punisher than Bugs Bunny, and shot dead halfway through his first adventure.
The book's sequels followed in the film's footsteps, eventually toning down the violence and heightening the wackiness, but nevertheless always keeping the property's punk spirit alive. And now The Mask returns. Not Stanley Ipkiss of course – he's still dead – but all of the old faces from the book's original run, including the now-retired Lieutenant Kellaway, one-time owner of the Mask, Kathy (Ipkiss's ex, now Mayor of Edge City), and old Big Head himself. This is a proper return to the book's roots, from the characters to the intense gore and violence.
30 years have passed since the events of The Mask (in which Ipkiss, Kellaway, and Kathy all took turns in using the Mask for their own dark purposes), and the characters have aged in real time (except for Ipkiss – dead, remember?). But who is behind the Mask this time? And what does he mean by “make America green again?” Big Head is taking aim at the White House and, given current standards, he'll probably be President before this book's four issues are up.
But for now, a couple of gruesome murders, an eerie new villain, and a panicked realisation for Kellaway and Mayor Kathy. This is darker, meaner and gorier than The Mask has been since its original run, featuring surprisingly subdued artwork from Patric Reynolds and colourist Lee Loughridge. I Pledge Allegiance to the Mask is no mere rehash of old characters and events; this is a true modernisation, with writer Christopher Cantwell bringing Big Head kicking and screaming into our world of petulant politicians and abject nihilism. He'll make a killing.