Disneyland may in fact be the “Happiest Place on Earth,” but it always seemed a tad feudal to us. There’s an impenetrable wall surrounding the park, a big iconic castle, and all those inscrutable Alice in Wonderland playing card guardsmen shuffling about. If you think about it, Disneyland could probably survive a spontaneous civil insurgence (or a zombie apocalypse), and later emerge as its own fiefdom.
And we’re not the only ones who think this way. Apparently Peter David does too. In this, the third installment of his Psi-Man series, he sends his telekinetic hero to Wonderworld, a pumped up version of the Magic Kingdom. Advertising itself as the “Safest Place in the World,” Wonderworld is an amusement park that also doubles as a fortress. Yes, it’s a fun place for kids, but it’s also a place that’s locked up tighter than a drum, with 20-foot walls, an overhead dome, and a secret lair a mile underground. Nothing ugly or smelly allowed.
And now Wonderworld is under attack. The U.S. President is a humorless puss who doesn’t like being mocked in Wonderworld cartoons. And because of this, he’s declared war on Wyatt Wonder, an eccentric Walt Disney-like figurehead. The President has already greenlit an assassination attempt on the entertainment mogul and is currently amassing a secret army to tear down his utopian playhouse.
That’s when Chuck Simon (Simon = Psi-Man, get it?) comes into the picture. He’s a powerful telekinetic who is also on the U.S. government’s shit list. He teams up with Mr. Wonder (nee Wondowski), and together they fight the Feds in an over-the-top, comedic urban war. Added bonus: doggie porn and sex with a robot.
Without a doubt, Main Street D.O.A. is funnier than the two previous Psi-Man novels. You could even say it’s a little doofy. And even though it originally came out 20 years ago, it hasn’t lost much of its satirical edge. For example, during the book’s climactic scene, government operatives are dispatched to destroy the bizarro amusement park. But once inside the gates, the troops are crushed by an animagic army of unicorns, dragons, dwarves, chipmunks, and singing bears. Actually, it’s not hard to imagine the same thing happening in real life. If anyone should choose to invade Disneyland, you know Huey, Dewey, and Louie would be armed and ready.
[Psi-Man: Main Street D.O.A. / By Peter David / First Ace Printing: April 2000 / ISBN: 9780441007172]