Pascal Jousselin’s clever superhero pastiche has become a mainstay of French anthology comic Spirou, toying with the form of comics to provide a consistently entertaining strip. Sometimes it’s just the single page, but also frequently extends beyond.

Masked and caped, Mister Invincible usually stumbles across trouble on the way back from the shops, Jousselin joyfully drawing him with a grocery bag in each hand. However, he has a super power like no other, able to use the form of comics to defeat would-be evildoers. As seen on the sample page, he’ll pull objects from earlier or later panels, from above or below, or send something into distant panels. He’s not the only one. Among others encountered are Toodie who can toy with the depth of comics (to him faraway objects are just small) and a pensioner who can use word balloons to novel effect. Jousselin also builds an effective supporting cast, with the self-serving Mayor regularly coming a cropper, and a mad scientist enabling the drawing of fantastic devices.

Having begun with a very good idea, Jousselin conceives a number of variations on the theme, then gradually becomes more ambitious. The height of his conceptual surreality occurs midway through, where in addition to the regular shenanigans, Mister Invincible burns a hole in the page. The curious thing about this messing with form is just how much thought it takes to follow Jousselin’s very active mind. A late strip features a character who can open holes in walls and the sky, and runs over several pages until explained, but once the explanation is given, the logic is faultless.

Mister Invincible is an amazing idea phenomenally well executed. Try to keep up! His adventures continue in Local Hero.