Synopsis: Skipper Matthews has an awesome comic book collection. His favorite one is called The Masked Mutant. It’s about an evil super villain 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?
My thoughts: I will preface this review by saying I’m SO happy to have read this book (and watched the TV episodes) before the next Welcome to Deadcast postcast episode airs. I’m actually up to speed and can read along with each episode.
I didn’t have much of a recollection of this book, but I know I definitely read it as a kid. I know that I didn’t think too highly of it, but reading it as an adult I found it pretty hilarious.
The story revolves around Skipper Matthews, who is an avid collector of comic books. This I understand, what I don’t really understand is how obsessed he is with how much the comic books are worth. He seems kind of money-grubbing, but I like that about him. It’s refreshing to see in a 12 year old. His favourite comic book (and the only one that he takes out of the plastic wrapping) is called The Masked Mutant. He is obsessed with the comics, and they’re constantly getting in the way of his school work. His next door neighbour Wilson also has an obsession – collecting rubber stamps – and he’s always trying to get Skipper to look at his collection. Unfortunately, Skipper is just not that into stamps. Just do you, Wilson. Just do you.
Skipper meets a girl named Libby on the bus on the way to his orthodontist appointment, and when he misses his stop he stumbles across a building that looks an awful lot like the masked mutant’s headquarters (as pictured on the cover of the book). He’s a bit flustered so he goes back home, and when he returns to take another look at the building he discovers that it has disappeared. How mysterious. When Skipper gets home he finds a new edition of The Masked Mutant waiting for him, in which the Masked Mutant has thrown an invisibility shield around his headquarters! Well, that explains it.
Skipper decides to go back and see what’s going on with the invisible headquarters, and bumps into Libby on the way. She tags along, and they both find their way into the invisible building. Once inside they get trapped inside an elevator that QUICKLY DROPS MANY FLOORS DOWN INSTEAD OF GOING UP and thus our protagonist survives my literal worst nightmare. The pair get seperated, and Skipper stumbles across some drawings that confirm they are in fact inside a building that is somehow related to The Masked Mutant. There are also some drawings of Skipper himself, which he (for understandable reasons) freaks out about. He meets up with Libby, they flee the building, and Skipper returns home to find yet another edition of the comic – this time featuring a character that looks just like him. This leads to one of the funniest parts of the book, IMO, where Skipper shows some interesting self reflection –
“The next drawing showed a closeup of my face. Big balls of sweat rolled down my pink face. I guess that meant I was scared. I’m a little too chubby in that drawing, I thought.”
For some reason Skipper feels like despite how creepy stumbling across drawings of himself in what seems like an abandoned building is, it would be a good idea to return once again to The Masked Mutant’s “headquarters”. So he does, and of course ends up in some a kind of of epic battle with the mutant. Of course it ends well, with Skipper realising what The Masked Mutant’s weakness would be (unsurprising, as he’s read the comic books for years). There is a good final twist, although it comes across a bit stunted.
Generally I found this one of the more entertaining Goosebumps book, but I think that was due for the most part to Skipper being a really amusing and sarcastic character. The story itself wasn’t one of the best of the series.