Spring Break Reviewstravaganza: Axel Pressbutton also featuring Mysta Mystralis, Laser Eraser! #1(1984)

You know, there used to be a time where foreign comics were readily available in shops. I’m not talking about the 2000 AD collections that pop up now and again, or the actual 2000 AD mag, or anything resembling the modern manga market. I’m talking about straight shots of Dredd without the dross you’d find in your average “prog”, as much flipped manga as one mind could take, and Epic’s reprints of Moebius stuff. Those were days of adventure and discovery, where your Arts Adams and your Joes Madureira AND THE RIC FLAIRS found, in stacks on stacks on stacks of the best comics that could be imported, the fuel that allowed them to redefine the look of American Comics.

Tonight’s issue comes from those very days, where you could find a young buck like Steve Dillon wrapped in a beautiful Bolland cover, straight from the presses of Eclipse Comics, the same people who gave a young Scott McCloud the opportunity to write and draw his magnum opus, that genre-busting marriage of superheroics and slice-of-life dramatics, Zot!

But we’re not talking about that little slice of joy. We’re talking Axel Pressbutton and Mysta Myxymatosis, Laser Eraser!

Yes, you heard that right. Those are the actual names of our protagonists. Why is Axel named Axel Pressbutton? Because he has a large red button around the left nipple area, that assumedly can be pressed. And why the confusing, alliterative, seemingly meaningless and stupid name for Mysta? That’s because this is a really silly comic. Though that’s not on purpose.

We start out with a missive from Cat Yrnwode, Eclipe Comics’ erstwhile EIC. This includes a peek at some forthcoming books, like a 48-page Groo Special, and a teamup between Peter Milligan and Brendan McCarthy, which seems like it’d be much more interesting than this. Also of note, this comic is referred to as simply Pressbutton, because apparently typing out Mysta Melancholia for every feature must have seemed like a real bore in the coke-soaked Eighties. Then, there’s a full-page opener featuring… what’s this?

Laser Eraser and Pressbutton?

So Mysta Metropolitan, the presumable capable, gun-toting lady, is the protagonist here? And they chose instead to focus on the baldheaded tough guy with the knife arm and the robot body? COLOR ME FUCKING SURPRISED. Comics: sometimes they behave exactly like you’d expect from them.

So we start out on the planet Ormuz, where every morning, and I quote, “the sun-star claws its way through a yellow mist before leaping victoriously into a yellow sky”. Jesus E. Neuman, there’s purple prose, and then there’s suffocated prose. A dude walks into his bathroom, opens the window(while a narrative caption tells us that “our story opens, like a window”, as if the hammeringly on-the-nose prose couldn’t already beat down a bull elephant), and gets shot in the head through said window by a mysterious figure, leaving the man’s mistress to ask what she’s going to tell his wife.

Turns out the mysterious assassin was Mean Mysta Mustard, while the captions say to “tell her his last thoughts were of you… It sounds better that way. Tell her it was quick… Tell her… Just tell her it was a professional job.” Yes, they’re assassins. Jump cut to a different planet, where the only words I can distinguish in the scene-setting caption are KLEMOND and MURDER.

And that’s the marker for talking about the worst part of this comic, The terrible lettering. The lettering here is small as fuck. This is both a curse and a blessing. On the one, it doesn’t intrude as much on the beautiful art, but on the other, it makes it that much harder to discern what’s supposed to be going on in the story.

Anyway, on this planet, a bearded man is telling some manner of telekinetic floating jelly that he’s not going to let it watch one of his girls die for its(presumably sexual) gratification, and offers up Mysta Mxyzptlk instead. It seems this bearded man is called Donthax, and some variety of policeman reports to him, telling him that “Pelagon” has been killed by Mysta Rogers’ Neighborhood, which Donthax thinks is “very good”.

Cut to Mysta Anderson’s apartment, where she’s showering in front of the “Door-vid” machine, which I can’t help but assume goes both ways, telling a Captain Baromet she’ll come out to meet him when she gets a robe on. She meets him, though she’s not actually wearing a robe, unless that’s one of those odd differences in British and American English. Like vagina/fanny, wake up/knock up, truck/lorry or elevator/lift. Or Prince Albert/Richard Nixon. She’s wearing a towel, to be exact.

Anyway, Captain says they killed the wrong man, they try to arrest them, and Pressbutton goes Brooklyn Zoo(/Westminster Abbey) on ’em. There’s also a you’re/your mixup, but that’s small potatoes(/tiny tatey tooter toots). Her towel also changes colors midscene as well. Dez Skinn: Porn star, or terrible editor? Turns out Thaxdon Industries is somehow connected to this. So they get to Thaxdon, Axel assaults some plants in a pretty silly bit of comedy, and they find a robot double of Baromet. Said robot apparently resembles the type of robot used by the Dendrellian Order of Assassins, who were apparently wiped out 3 years ago, as delivered in the most obviously expository dialogue this side of Skyrim. And apparently Donthax is behind this. Since the way he chose to disguise his intentions is to name his shell company Thaxdon Industries, he is apparently not the brightest of villains.

I’ll say this a little bit louder and a whole lot worse for the cheap seats: Thaxdon. THAX. DON. DON. THAX. DONTHAX. That’s like Greg Land using Land Greg, Grand Leg, or Totally Not Greg Land You Guys as a pseudonym. Dumb as hell. Cut to Donthax, and his little green jelly is being creepy again.

Cut back to Mysta Minty Fresh and Pressbutton, who are fighting the police. They get through, and take off in their giant spaceship disguised as a house. Time for a flashback. Apparently Mysta Steve Martin To You is the clone of an ancient warrior who had been encased in silver by a caveman too clumsy to unhook a bra strap. And who cloned her? None other than… LEX LUTHOR! DONTHAX! Donthax is also the direct descendent of said clumsy-ass caveman, and the discovery of said fact prompted Mysta Brownstone to beat feet out of Donthax’s crib. Also, she has no navel. Meanwhile, Baromet has a giant green crystal robot ready to take out Mysta P Da Last Don, and that’s where this first issue ends.

EXCEPT NOT.

There’s a bonus story with Brian Bolland art, where the little creepy green jelly gets fondled by an octopus and is generally creepy and unnerving to read about. Brian Bolland sure can draw pretty ladies though, or in this story, one pretty lady who gets harassed by said green jelly.

So yeah.

Also, on the back, there’s an ad for “The book you demanded we publish”, THE MASKED MAN, which appears to be about Geo-Force from The Outsiders beating up an accounting firm. Apparently someone demanded that.

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