Front Tagline: He's no superhero. He's a supervillain!
Back Tagline: Read At Your Own Risk....
Official Book Description:
Skipper Matthews has an awesome comic book collection. His favorite one is called The Masked Mutant. It's about an evil supervillain who's out to rule the universe!
Skipper can't get enough of The Mutant. Until one day he gets lost in a strange part of town. And finds a building that looks exactly like The Mutant's secret headquarters. A building that appears and disappears.
Has Skipper read one too many comic books? Or does The Masked Mutant really live in Riverview Falls?
Skipper Matthews is an overweight comic-book collector who loves collecting many comics yet only reads one, the Masked Mutant. The Masked Mutant is an evil supervillain who can change his molecular form into any solid material. He is constantly opposed by a league of superheroes lead by the Galloping Gazelle, the world's fastest man. Skipper has a friend named Wilson who is into collecting rubber stamps and attempts at various times throughout the novel to share his passion with Skipper to no avail.
One day while riding the bus to the dentist he meets a pretty redhead girl named Libby who strikes up a conversation with him about comic books. He gets so caught up talking to her that he gets off on the wrong stop and spots a building that looks exactly like the Masked Mutant's headquarters! He almost goes inside the building but he is late for his dentist appointment and decides to come back. The next day he comes back to see the building but it has disappeared! Later that night he goes home and reads the newest issue of the Masked Mutant that has arrived in the mail for him and sees that in the comic book the Masked Mutant has put an invisibility cloak on the building.
Going back the next day, Skipper runs into Libby for a third time and the two decide to see if they can access the invisible building and sure enough they enter successfully. When they arrive a yellow light ray scans over Skipper's body but has no apparent effect on him. The two venture into one of the building's elevators and are whisked down to the basement of the building. The two get seperated and while alone Skipper finds a large printing press and layouts for the last issue of the Masked Mutant. Skipper concludes that the building is likely the headquarters for the comic book publisher, completely ignoring the fact that most comic book publishers do not employ invisibility cloaks around their buildings. While leafing through the layouts Skipper notices a series of panels for the next issue, and the new character drawn within looks exactly like Skipper! At this point Libby reappears and makes Skipper leave with her.
That night Skipper gets home and there's another new issue of the comic waiting for him. Inside the issue Skipper spies drawings of himself walking around the headquarters with the words "A NEW FOE" written about him. Skipper also finds out that the Galloping Gazelle has been held hostage in the Mutant's headquarters and that only "the Boy" can save him!
So Skipper returns again to the headquarters, alone as he doesn't run into Libby, and makes his way up the elevator to rescue the Galloping Gazelle! He finds the bound superhero tied to a chair in an unlocked room, unties him, and the two leave the room to confront the Masked Mutant. The Galloping Gazelle is convinced that Skipper is a superhero and keeps drilling him for his secret power as they make their way to the Mutant's private offices. The Galloping Gazelle informs Skipper that his plan is to run around and around the Mutant at such a fast speed that he becomes a cyclone and sucks the Mutant into submission. Suddenly the Mutant morphs out of hiding (he was disguised as office furniture) and the Gazelle makes good on his plan. However the Mutant outsmarts him and sticks his foot out, tripping the Gazelle. The Mutant then transforms into the form of a Leopard and tries to eat the Gazelle (get it?).
The Galloping Gazelle escapes the Mutant's leopard clutches and abandons Skipper with the Mutant as he makes his escape. The Mutant returns to his normal form and he too starts to drill Skipper about his secret mutant-power. The Mutant lifts Skipper all the way up to the ceiling of his private office and is about to drop him to his death when Libby appears in the doorway!
The Mutant safely sets Skipper down as he goes to confront Libby. Libby removes a yellow toy gun from her satchel and tells Skipper that if this is really a comic book then anything can happen, so she tells the Mutant that the toy gun is a Molecule-Melter. The Mutant doubts her and he advances as she pulls the trigger. The gun fires at the Mutant and the Mutant melts down into nothing! Skipper is overjoyed, it worked! Libby tells him of course it worked, after all, it is a Molecule-Melter, and Skipper is next!
Skipper then watches as Libby transforms into the Masked Mutant. Turns out that the previous Masked Mutant was actually the Magnificent Molecule Man, who worked for the Masked Mutant. Besides being a pretty shitty boss, the Masked Mutant also informs Skipper of another dasterdly deed: He has turned Skipper into a comic book character. The mysterious yellow ray when he first entered the building was a scanner and it scanned him into the comic book! With no hope of escape the Masked Mutant prepares to destroy Skipper until Skipper stops him by announcing that he's not actually Skipper! No, he's THE COLOSSAL ELASTIC BOY in disguise! The Masked Mutant shakes his head and goes "I knew it!" During the course of a couple lines of dialog, Skipper accidently reveals that nothing can harm him but sulfuric acid. The Masked Mutant sees his window and transforms himself into a wave of acid. Skipper barely misses the wave and the acid eats into the carpet.
Skipper made up the whole thing about being the Elastic Boy. Since the Masked Mutant could only transform himself into solids, Skipper had tricked him into transforming into a liquid and thus the Masked Mutant was unable to return to his original form. Skipper returns home and, having had enough adventure for one day, decides not to read the new comic that has arrived for him in the mail. He celebrates later that nite by having some chocolate cake with his little sister.
But the Twist is:
As Skipper is cutting the cake, he cuts his hand and discovers he bleeds ink.
the Platonic Boy-Girl Relationship:
Skipper Matthews, the comic-collecting narrator, befriends Libby, the cute redhead girl on the bus who disappears inside a Supervillain Fortress halfway though the novel.
Confusing Chronology Alert:
At least four new issues of the same comic book title arrive at Skipper's house within a five day period.
Skipper's father threatens to throw away his son's comics yet never actually does. That's poor parenting, Skipper's Father. If you don't follow through on a threat of punishment, your child is never going to listen to you.
Early 90s Cultural References:
Todd McFarlane's Spawn, shoes with pumps, shoes with lights.
R.L. Stine Shows He is Down With the Kids:
Libby asks Skipper if he sees "a shrink."
An attractive young girl befriends an unpleasant overweight comic book collector. Bells should be ringing.
Memorable Cliffhanger Chapter Ending:
Skipper is reading about an octopus in a comic when suddenly something wet and cold grasps his neck! Oh wait, it's just his little sister who put her hands in the freezer to make them cold. Wait, what.
Great Prose Alert:
My head was spinning faster than The Amazing Tornado-Man!
Before he wrote "scary" books for children, RL Stine was a comedy writer and this entry in the Goosebumps catalog is a return to his "funny" ways as the book is not a scary story or even an attempt at a scary story but an out-and-out comedic novel. Some of the jokes work, a lot don't, but advertising this book to kids as a scary book is ridiculous and no wonder I was disappointed in it as a child.
Goosebumps: Attack of the Mutant (Book Review)
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Front Tagline: He's no superhero. He's a supervillain!