Now WHO wouldn’t want a PIECE of this ACTION?!?
WARNING TO THE FAINT OF HEART OR EASILY OFFENDED:
I am NOT going to dilly-dally around with my words in this review. I am going to call things EXACTLY as I see them and EXACTLY the way I think the CREATORS intended for me to see them.
There’s a lot of HISTORY behind Trouble… A big brouhaha, a media shitstorm (well, a media shitstorm WITHIN the comics community– so NOT that big of a shitstorm, I guess)… But who would expect anything less from MARVEL COMICS– especially during the Bill Jemas/Joe Quesada era? All I can say is, THANK GOD I wasn’t buying comics in 2003/2004.
Yeah, that’s right. I went about eight years starting in the mid-90s not collecting comics. But with the birth of a vibrant Hardcover and Trade Paperback industry– and Marvel’s zeal to reprint EVERYTHING they have EVER published (and I mean EVERYTHING)– I’ve been able to catch up on almost all the titles I’ve missed… And I’ve been fairly satisfied.
Then this… THING rears its’ ugly head again and actually makes me wish that I had still been collecting comics on a weekly basis back then. Why? Well, I’ll get to that in a minute.
What you need to know about Mark Millar’s Trouble: It was THE title that, back in 2003, Jemas & Quesada were using to relaunch Marvel’s EPIC line of comics. They also wanted to see if they could revive the once SUPER LUCRATIVE Romance comic market. Trouble was conceived to kill two birds with one series– restart a separate imprint and bring WOMEN back into comics.
And it FAILED… MISERABLY.
Trouble was SO poorly received that plans for the entire EPIC line were quickly shelved and ZERO romance comics have made it out of the publisher in the EIGHT YEARS since this book saw its’ initial publication.
But there was something SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT going on here than the publication of a shitty 5-issue comic and the failure of a few ill-advised company mandates. As far as I can tell, Trouble stands as Quesada’s first OBVIOUS ATTEMPT to DESTROY the legacy of Peter Parker, The Amazing Spider-man. I don’t know Joey Q and I certainly don’t know what his BEEF is with Spidey– but Trouble is certainly something I would have wanted to read when it was FIRST released.
And here’s why: Because I would have realized Quesada’s seeming hatred for Spider-man much earlier on. Then all the horrible ideas, character assassinations and terrifying things that have literally DISMANTLED a LEGEND over the last six to eight years would have made SO much more sense.
Trouble’s plot revolves around two sets of OVERTLY HORNY teens– two boys and two girls– going off to work at a Summer resort in the Hamptons. Sure, the kids want to make some money– but their BIGGEST GOAL is to FUCK… And fuck A LOT. In fact, some of them want to fuck SO MUCH, they put RABBITS to shame. This is truly the entire plot of this mini-series: FUCKING– and the ramifications of said fucking.
So how could this possibly be a problem for Spider-man fans? Well, because these aren’t just ANY set of teens. These are the FUTURE ADULTS that will play such a large part in the CONCEPTION and UPBRINGING of one Mr. Peter Parker. The conceit here is that no LAST NAMES are used in the story… So just in case there was a BACKLASH due to the highly unflattering and suggestive story matter– then Marvel could counter with, “Oh, that WASN’T May and Ben Parker. It was just two teens that HAPPENED to have the first names May & Ben.”
But comic HISTORIANS see the situation very differently. If the title had been a HUGE SUCCESS, they believe that the “House That Stan Built” (later becoming the “House That Jemas & Quesada HOSED”) would have acted as if this NEW TALE was part of Spider-man CONTINUITY– even though it FLEW IN THE FACE of all the information that had come before. Had it been embraced, Trouble would have been the TRUE tale and origin of how Peter Parker came into the world.
Thankfully, comic FANS were having NOTHING of it. Trouble was roundly rejected for the piece of trash that it was/is: A Millar fantasy of beautiful, well-endowed All American Girls ready to suck and fuck any and all comers. The Millar/Jemas/Quesada triumvirate had made a FATAL MISTAKE: They underestimated the esteemed estimation that readers held for Peter’s previously virtuous Aunt May.
Comic fans were in an uproar (and if reaction to this Hardcover Reprint is any indication– STILL are) because Millar portrayed the future May Parker as a SLUT. And not your garden variety slut either. Millar’s May is a cock-gobbling, sperm-swilling femme fatale that– besides never being able to get enough sex– also feels the need to cheat on her boyfriend Ben Parker with… WAIT FOR IT… His BROTHER, Richie!
And just in case you didn’t realize that May was a slut of the first order by reading the first issue of the comic… Millar is kind enough to provide dialogue for Richie Parker who– after just banging May behind his brother’s back for the first time– clarifies the situation by calling her CHEAP and SLUTTY.
I can only imagine being a Spider-man fan and reading this tripe in 2003. It must have been like being hit in the EMOTIONAL BREADBASKET with a SLEDGEHAMMER of SICK… Watching helplessly as these untalented assholes desecrated everything you held dear as a fan of the wacky Web Crawler. I can literally see people NO LONGER collecting comics because of this misconceived pile of shit. And I know for a fact that many of my friends have STOPPED COLLECTING Spider-man comics because of Marvel’s continued insistence on fucking with the character. Apparently, my not-so-famous friends have some FAMOUS BRETHREN in common– including professional artist Alex Ross– who, it is said, SOLD his ENTIRE Spider-man comic book collection after a clueless Quesada supposedly forced then Amazing Spider-man writer J. Michael Stracyzinski to again rewrite Parker’s past by having his one-time girlfriend, Gwen Stacy, give birth to twins fathered by Norman (The Green Goblin) Osborn.
Hey, I am with Alex. That Gwen/Norman sex scene was just about the MOST HIDEOUS thing I have ever had the displeasure of reading in comics– or in ANY other printed form.
Back to 2004 (when the original Trouble series ended publication), Marvel had already started backpedaling in the true Mighty Marvel Manner. The story was NOT part of Spider-Man continuity. The teen characters depicted within were NOT really Spider-man’s future parents or Aunt and Uncle or BOTH (you would actually have to read this PIECE OF SHIT to understand that last reference).
Regardless of whatever furor Marvel’s PR Machine was trying to ameliorate at the time, it is clear to me NOW that Trouble WAS the beginning of the end of the MAJESTY that was the Amazing Spider-man. Every horrible thing that has happened to my most beloved comic book character started here: The almost pedophilic Gwen/Norman relationship/pregnancy, the revocation of the Peter/Mary Jane marriage… Everything began with Trouble.
So take a bow, Mr. Millar! In my opinion, not only are you one of the most OPPORTUNISTIC, DERIVATIVE, UNTALENTED HACKS to disgrace the comic book industry– but you are also the “father” of the DESTRUCTION of Spider-man. In a short couple of months, YOU succeeded in doing something that FIVE DECADES, HUNDREDS of other HACKS and YEARS of MISMANAGEMENT had NEVER achieved: YOU first bricked the road that would lead to the DEMISE of the unique and upstanding CHARACTER that made Peter Parker special.
And sadly, you– and the people you worked for– probably told you back then that you did a good job.
A short aside: I originally was going to put this review under the Ask Insideman™ banner, then the banner for Insideman’s Piece of Mind™. Finally, I settled on Crapwatch 2011™– because apparently, like Mark, I just can’t keep myself from being crude and rude.