In a melting-pot society populated by the aliens and humans of 1950s space-invader movies, a brooding blue rebel with a giant brain grapples with prejudice and hormones in that most horrific of earthly battlegrounds—high school.
J!m, the hero of the second book (I Love You, Beth Cooper, 2007) by ex-Simpsons writer Doyle, is the son of the most despised and mythologized alien leader of all, a disarmament-preaching supervillain who’s said to have died years before, impaled on the Washington Monument. In the aftermath, J!m’s mom, sultry, downy-furred Miw, is making ends meet by serving cocktails to the kinky mutant-curious in a strip club. And tongue-tied J!m is infatuated with his lifelong human friend Marie, daughter of the neighborhood mad scientist, incompetent Dr. Rand, who is kvetched at constantly by his wife, a severed head who wants him to acquire for her the new body he’s promised for years. At Manhattan High (Go, Mutants!), J!m is besieged by sadistic coaches, skeptical teachers and well-connected bullies with fast cars and designs on his girlfriend. Meanwhile, human distrust and intolerance of the mutants in their midst is worsening, and all it will take to set off this powder keg is…well, the literally explosive changes that mark J!m’s puberty might just do it, in which case saving the day will be up to J!m and his friends—Johnny, a radioactive ape-boy rebel (and a football hero banned for his tendency to accidentally maim or dismember opponents while carrying the ball), and Jelly, a shape-shifting goo who usually takes the form of a fat kid who’s the brunt of jokes. Doyle provides a frenetic, sublimely silly, all-over-the-map mashup of B movies that’s also a sendup of American pop and political culture.
Rollickingly inventive and often hilarious—but it seems at times like a skit that, perhaps in the wake of an atomic accident, has mutated into (dear God!) an epic.