Impossible Man

Impossible Man


caption=The Impossible Man in his debut appearance, "Fantastic Four" #11 (Feb, 1963). Art by Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers. © Marvel Comics.
character_name=Impossible Man
publisher=Marvel Comics
debut="Fantastic Four" #11 (Feb, 1963)
creators=Stan Lee
Jack Kirby
aliases= Impy

The Impossible Man is a fictional character, a mischievous alien that has appeared in various comic book series published by Marvel Comics. Usually an antagonist of the Fantastic Four, the character exists in Marvel's main shared universe, known as the Marvel universe. He first appeared in "Fantastic Four" #11 (Feb, 1963), and was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. He is described as a Poppupian, an alien race with a name analogous to popping up.

Fictional character biography

The Impossible Man belongs to the alien race of Poppupians, all of whom share a collective consciousness and the ability to shapeshift, assuming some of the useful attributes of the new form when they do ('The People of Poppup have no names. We Know who we are!'). He was born in Poppupoopu on the planet Poppup. The Impossible Man has green skin, an elongated egg-shaped oblong head, and wears a strange purple outfit. He is a highly mischievous and meddlesome character with staggering powers. The Impossible Man is a prankster and hedonist.

The Poppupians are connected into a large group mind. The Impossible Man has a small mental variation that allows him to think for himself. He becomes disenchanted with his world and forms himself into a spacecraft and leaves. He soon arrives on Earth. There he amuses himself by causing trouble among the normal humans with his ability to transform. The Fantastic Four eventually use the tactic of ignoring him and getting others to do the same, which convinces him that Earth is boring and causes him to return to his home planet. ["Fantastic Four" #11]

When the world-eating Galactus threatens to consume other worlds, the Poppupians have the Impossible Man lead Galactus to their own world and devour it, in an effort to relieve them of their boredom. The Impossible Man himself survives, and the Poppupians' collective consciousness lives on through him. After his own world is destroyed, he returns to Earth with the Fantastic Four. He visits the Marvel Comics offices, and becomes a fan and student of Earth's popular culture. He also becomes peripherally involved in battles between the Fantastic Four and various foes. ["Fantastic Four" #179, 181-188]

He later aides the Fantastic Four by impersonating President Jimmy Carter. ["Marvel Two-in-One" #27] He also visits Hollywood with the Invisible Woman. ["Fantastic Four" #193-195] He then helps the Thing defeats the Terrible Trio. However, after now having spent some time on Earth, loneliness due to a lack of his own kind impells him to reproduce, a process done asexually by splitting in two. The result is the Impossible Woman, his mate. ["Marvel Two-in-One" #60] Later, in an attempt to recreate the Poppupian race, the Impossible Man and Impossible Woman create their cloned Impossible Kids, and the whole "family" visits the Thing. ["Marvel Two-in-One" #86] The Impossible Woman later go missing, and he hires Jessica Drew to locate her. ["Spider-Woman" #45]

The Impossible Man eventually returns to earth alone to cause trouble again. He says that he has left his family behind because they have developed minds unlike his own, and to determine leadership a scavenger hunt is devised, involving taking many powerful artifacts from earth's heroes. Foiled by the X-Men and other heroes, he leaves earth, after failing the test. ["X-Men Annual" #7] He returns several times over the years, encountering the Fantastic Four, Spider-Woman, the New Mutants, the Silver Surfer, and even Stan Lee. During his time with the New Mutants, his rivalry with the shape-shifting Warlock threatens the entire world. He eventually gives up their 'one-upmanship' game when Warlock proves he can do what the Impossible Man can not, namely change color. ["New Mutants Annual" #3]

He appears during the Cross-Time Caper which features the dimensionally lost Excalibur. There the Impossible Man populates a mixed-up alternative Earth for his own amusement. He confronts Galactus, who wishes to consume this silly version of the Marvel Universe. After Galactus destroys the planet, he admonishes the Impossible Man to behave. He does not, recreating the silliness as soon as Galactus had left. ["Excalibur" #14]

The Impossible Man then encounters the Silver Surfer. ["Silver Surfer" Vol. 3 #33] He then resolves to help the Silver Surfer achieve a sense of humor. ["Silver Surfer" Vol. 3 #36]

Later, the Impossible Man returns to Earth with his family on vacation. While there, he encounters Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and the Punisher. He ultimately departs Earth to visit the Skrull Empress S'Byll. ["Impossible Man Summer Vacation Spectacular" #1] He later returns to Earth in search of his missing offspring. ["Impossible Man Summer Vacation" #2]

He even harasses Rick Jones at his bachelor party with the men of the Avengers. ["The Incredible Hulk" #417-418] He is also responsible for sending fake wedding invites to many entities that Rick Jones knows, most of whom he does not actually want at his wedding. Fortunately, diplomacy (mostly) wins the day at that incident.

In Marvel's humorous out-of-continuity series "Wha... Huh?", Marvel creates a satire of DC Comics' 'Identity Crisis', in which the Impossible Man murders the Thing's Aunt Petunia.

In the "Cable X-Force" one-shot, three of his children have become 'slackers', poorly dressed, obnoxious teenage types, with no interests but their own self-fulfillment. The Impossible Man interrupts X-Force's vacation, in order to get their help in changing his children's attitudes. The menace of a separate monster, coincidentally purple and green, finally spurs the children into an attitude change.

Impossible Man returns in the "Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four" limited series, wherein he arrives on Earth disguised as the Silver Surfer. After some mischief-making at Spider-Man's expense, Impy reveals that he had come to warn the Fantastic Four of an impending invasion of Earth by the H'mojen alien force. The unlikely duo make their way to Central Park to stop the invasion force, but the villainous Imperator blasts them with repulsor rays, increasing their magnitude until the Impossible Man is a cloud of vapor. Later on, it is revealed that when his body is destroyed, he implants his essence into Spider-Man's body until he can regain his strength. The end of the third issue of the series has Spider-Man vomiting up a purple puddle, a cloud of steam rising from it bearing the Impossible Man's face. The collective consciousness of the Poppupian race, stored inside Impy when their planet is destroyed, reconstitute themselves from this puddle, as a gigantic blob with many mouths. They attempt to destroy the H'mojen and populate the earth, but the Fantastic Four relocate both to an inhabited planet, where the two species merge into one, becoming docile. The final panel of the mini-series shows a cat coughing up a green glob, which then turns into Impossible Man, who proclaims "Never the End!"

Powers and abilities

The Impossible Man's alien physiology gives him the ability to take on virtually any form by rearranging his molecules, or to shapeshift (giving a "pop" sound while doing so). Changing form in this way includes adapting the powers of superhuman beings, the ability to survive in a vacuum and without food, water, or oxygen for months by lowering his metabolic state as in hibernation. He possesses superhuman durability, and he can actually assume some of the useful attributes of the new form when he does this. He can even shape-shift into mechanical and electronic devices with moving internal parts. This allows him to assume a form with superhuman strength, or other forms, such as space ships, to travel through space at faster than light speed. The Impossible Man is potentially very powerful, as implied in the aforementioned inter-company crossover, but his benevolent (though mischievous) personality precludes deliberate violence on his part, although he seems to keep forgetting that other non-Poppupian beings can be harmed by things like physical impact or fire. He can also withstand the vacuum of space innately. He also has the ability of self-levitation.

An interesting point on his strength is that in an issue of Generation X, Strong Guy is bragging about his powers, claiming the Juggernaut and Exodus to be lightweights, but admitting that he would need help against 'that green alien pesty guy' the Impossible Man.

The powers of his alien race are defined as "instant evolution," being able to adapt to whatever suits their needs for a particular situation. This bears remarkable similarity to the Haggunenons, a species created by Douglas Adams for the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Radio series, who are a race that continually evolves for every situation ever, having 'impatient chromosomes'; they may at one point be an armchair, the next be a Ravenous Bugblatter Beast, at another a talking shoebox filled with size-9 chucker boots.

Much like DC's Plastic Man, his only limitation is that he keeps his original green and purple color motif at all times. That weakness plays a role in resolving a childish rivalry with the shapeshifting being Warlock when the New Mutants suggests that their companion simply demonstrate he can change his colors. Having been shown up, the Impossible Man is reduced to tears and irritates the team for the rest of the day.

The Impossible Man has an encyclopedic knowledge of Earth's popular culture.

Other media


* Impossible Man appears in the 1978 Fantastic Four TV series voiced by Frank Welker.

* Impossible Man appears in the 1994 "Fantastic Four" cartoon series voiced by Jess Harnell. In his appearance, he approached Human Torch and Lockjaw when the Super-Skrull was pursuing him. He helps to defeat Super-Skrull by shapeshifting into Galactus.

* Impossible Man appears in "" voiced by Terry Klassen.


External links

* [ Impossible Man on the Marvel universe Character Bio Wiki]

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