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By Arpad OkayImposter might be a dream come true, but it doesn’t feel like it. It’s more like a lesson: danger lies in getting what you want. It may be more than you expect. Suddenly your hands are full, you’re in over your head. Responsibility greater than you have the strength to bear falls upon your shoulders, and all of a sudden you find the imposter is you.

It is a tale steeped in bullets as well as existentialism. Its hero, like the imposter, stumbles into greatness. A series of bloody standoffs between the Square Jaw Quintuplets and Black City’s masked defender, The Centipede, cause ripples in reality as well as mayhem in the streets. To keep his city safe, Centipede may end up dooming the entire world. No corner of the universe is secure because in Imposter nothing is as it seems.

The Centipede is one of several heroes bound to the imposter. Spirit realms, exotic lands and deep space all play a part in this story. The key to it all is pulp. Gangsters with machine guns. Talking gorillas. Interstellar tyrants. Occult succubi. Centipede is a classic pulp take on the superhero. Like The Spectre he is a gothic vigilante, replete with cape and cowl. A Phantom. Imposter has an entire issue of Men’s Adventure, from tiger trap to space combat, all in one story. A digest of styles brought together by the versatile pen of Martin Szymanski. An anthology’s worth of ideas from a solitary mind, writer James Patrick.

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The power of a single man is another lesson taught by Imposter. For all those varied threats out there, if any one person meets an untimely end, the entire “house of cards which always seems in danger of crumbling” can easily collapse. Sometimes fate calls upon an imposter to save the world simply because they are present when a card falls. Either the torch gets passed or it sets the world on fire.

There is much about the writing that I respect. The motifs are old but the angles are fresh. The twist on heroism in Imposter is one of those great ideas that should be too good to work but does anyway (and gloriously). Everything runs together seamlessly because it is all so well planned. I am smitten with the quality of misdirection employed by Imposter. Patrick grasps the art of the MacGuffin, and so the depth of the imposter’s lies are allowed to sneak up on us. The result? I have no idea what to expect next, but I know I’m going to like it.

21 Pulp / $3.99

Written by James Patrick.

Art by Martin Szymanski.

Colors by Osmarco Valladão.

Letter by ET Dollman.

8 out of 10

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