CRAPWATCH 2011™ – The TROUBLE with Mark Millar’s Trouble

Now WHO wouldn’t want a PIECE of this ACTION?!?

You, hopefully.

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.

Despite Mary's provocative pose in front, it is May (standing) who's the champion cocksucker boys!

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.

Look! I didn't even mention the SKEEVY PHOTO COVERS Marvel used for this shit series!

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.”

Many fans wondered aloud if the French Models used for these skeevy covers were UNDERAGE. Marvel insisted they were not.

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!

HEY KIDS... CONDOMS!!!

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.

Special thanks to IMJ Nation members Tiger Topher and TheMSpot who first asked– while commenting on my Insideman’s Pull List for 5.18.11 post– what I thought of Mark Millar’s Trouble. I just can’t seem to turn down the chance to shine a bright light on the idiots that I think are destroying our hobby.
This entry was posted in Commentary, Controversy, Cool Commentary, Crapwatch 2011™, Hardcover Review, Insideman, Inveterate Media Junkies™ Exclusive, Life & Times, Mainstream Comics, Mark Millar, Marvel Comics, RIP-OFF!, Should Have Seen This Coming, Sorrow, WTF? and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to CRAPWATCH 2011™ – The TROUBLE with Mark Millar’s Trouble

  1. mattcd42(Wednesday's Serial) says:

    Weird I saw that hardcover at the comic store and forgot what it was. I would of never guessed it was Spider-Man related.

    Glad I didn’t bother.

  2. Venom829 says:

    WOW! It’s like he he had tennage girls in mind when he wrote this autrocity… glad I don’t buy his shit!

  3. kurumais says:

    that was really fun piece IM nice job

    i bought the first couple of that nonsense couldnt make head nor tails of it what exactly it was ?what it was trying to do? who exactly the audience was supposed to? it was just baffling this is one of those stories behind the story that really intrigues me who thought this was a good idea and why? what arguments/reasons did they have to support the idea that either the existing fanbase would be open to this or that this comic would create its own fanbase of new readers. i would love to go back in time and listen in on the production meeting and water cooler skuttle butt about this book

  4. ComicBookDude says:

    How exactly was this going to attract the female audience? Please tell me how. Actually I DON’T want to know because I don’t exactly want any of the fucked up/perverted thoughts running through Millar, Jemas, and Quesada’s minds. Anyone remember Marvel Divas? You think they were trying to do something like this again? If so, they really have no fucking clue how to attract female readers. Heck, they don’t even know how to treat their REGULAR fans!

    Are you KIDDING me Marvel? A couple of horny teens conviently named May and Ben? “Oh, they could’ve been any teenage couple named May and Ben.” BULLSHIT. We’re not that fucking DUMB Marvel! Seriously WTF is up with all of these horny writers who feel the need to include a useless SEX SCENE just for the hell of it (i.e. Jeph Loeb, Brian Bendis, and Mark Millar).

    This kind of crap makes even ME want to stop reading comics. If that’s true for me, imagine how a new reader feels. It makes me sick to my stomach. Please credit us with SOME intelligence. PLEASE? Because no loyal fan (or any fan for that matter) should have to put up with this.

  5. Ryan Schaefer says:

    Ah yes, the truth about Trouble FINALLY can be told. For years I thought I was the only one who hated this series (mostly because I didn’t think anyone else read it), but it looks like we are actually the majority. Great article. I think that it would be hated even MORE if the awful twist were to be known by the fortunate people who never picked this up. Trust me, it’s bad…

    • Insideman says:

      I was going to reveal the twist but the REVIEWER in me wouldn’t allow me to. The book is bad enough if somebody plunked down $20 for this piece of shit. I would expect them to read it and I wouldn’t want to ruin it for them.

      Oops. I think I ALREADY did that WITHOUT revealing the twist. :D

      • Ryan Schaefer says:

        Hahaha, touche my good man! I remember when this series released because I was working in a comic store during college and the owner had a real hard-on for limiting people to one copy of hot books (or what she estimated would be hot; she knew nothing about the business having only stolen the store from her husband in a divorce but that’s another story) and Trouble was given this limit. We sold out of the 50 or so copies on day one and immediately on the second day we had people trying to either return the book or trade them back in. People like me who actually read to the end of this garbage actually applauded these folks for seeing the extent of the disaster before we could. It’s a shame that this derailed the Epic line because there was some actual promise on the horizon. The Kirkman “Sleepwalker” anthology book that only got one issue was a personal favorite.

  6. Tiger Topher says:

    Nice work, Ian. I’m glad to see that you liked Trouble almost as much as I thought you would.

    • Insideman says:

      And a great idea for a column it was!

      I even had it shipped special to the East Coast just so I could see why people were so up in arms. So Marvel got my money.

      You can laugh now. :D

  7. ed2962 says:

    I actually have the first two issues of this somewhere. I got bored and never bothered trying to finish the story.
    I never thought of it before but I like your observation that this was Joe Q’s first attempt at dismantling modern day Spidey.

    • Insideman says:

      I just feel like it HAD to be, Ed.

      If he cared one fig for this character, he would have STOPPED shit like this– instead of ENCOURAGING or MANDATING that it happen.

      Like I wrote, I just wish I had seen it sooner. Everything makes so much sense now.

  8. ComicBookDude says:

    Ho-lee crap. I just looked up the plot summary of Trouble and read what the “twist” ending was… frick, this is proof that Marvel doesn’t give a rat’s ass about their fans. How ANYBODY thought this was a good idea is beyond me. I’ve never liked Joe Quesada much and now I like him even less. Dammit, Mark Millar…. WTF??? He was one of my early inspirations to be a comic book writer, but now I sincerely think that he NEEDS to leave the industry. Quesada too. Brevoort and Buckley as well.

    Oh, speaking of crap comics I read Ultimate Comics Avengers 3 and Nerd Hulk apparently like Trouble. I kid you not. He had a copy of Trouble#1 in his bag ready to get signed (by Mark Millar) at Midtown Comics, but gets attacked by vamps on the way there. Another classic case of Millar stroking himself.

    • Insideman says:

      Now imagine how many times Millar “stroked” himself while writing Trouble.

      Or not. That’s sorta gross imagery… Even for me. :D

      • megamanx4ever says:

        :( :BLARGHHHHHHHHHHH!: :(

        • Insideman says:

          Sorry. It’s just like the old adage: If you lay down with dogs, sooner or later you get up with fleas.

          This what happens when you immerse yourself in Mark Millar madness and misogyny.

          I am sure it will be out of my system by tomorrow. At least I hope so. :D

  9. VictimPrime says:

    Damn you Ian! If it wasn’t for this article, I would have continued on in my life, blissfully unaware of this atrocity. I now find myself with a strange, unhealthy desire to witness this train wreck for myself! Like a moth to an open flame, or Icarus flying too close to the sun, I’m doomed, doomed! I say…..

    Is it weird that i want to check out Aunt May’s rack?

    • Insideman says:

      There is absolutely nothing wrong with looking at (or lusting after) May Parker’s– or for that matter, Mary Watson’s– rack(s).

      Just be warned: Terry Dodson has drawn MORE WOMEN with MORE SHEETS and MORE CLOTHING more STRATEGICALLY PLACED than ANY artist I have EVER seen.

      He must’ve prayed for this to be over… I can just see him at a drawing board in 2003 going, “I have to cover up her whatsis with THAT now?”

      So, in short, there’s really NO RACKS to been that aren’t in preppy polo shirts or covered by some sort of cloth. You’ll have more fun going online and subscribing to Victoria Secret catalogs or buying a Frank Cho art book… :D

      • Venom829 says:

        Ian, everyday at work, I ALWAYS GO THROUGH THE WOMEN’S LINGERIE SECTION as part of my cleanup duties. Trust I’m better off there than this book. :D

        Btw, I think Terry Dodson is a very good artist, the quality of his art is very good, the funny part of all of this is is that his wife is the inker, I just sometimes wonder what they argue about? :)

      • VictimPrime says:

        Weird thing is, working here at the Post Office.. there is literally a mountain of magazines(Like Victoria Secrets) lying around begging to be read. Of course to do so would get me into enormous trouble, so not even a peek, OK, maybe a quick peek… wait that one has a plastic wrapper, easy enough to solve that.. Riiipppp!
        ;)

    • Tiger Topher says:

      VictimPrime, you don’t need to buy Trouble to see sexy shots of Aunt May. All you need is Google.

      Here’s a pic from Amazing Spider-Man #592:

      And here’s another image from Deadpool #0:

  10. TheMSpot says:

    Great article. One of my favorites so far.

    • Insideman says:

      Couldn’t/Wouldn’t have done it without you and Tiger Topher. I am so far behind in my reading (Thanks, Hollywood and Inveterate Media Junkies website)– this POS would have probably laid on my stack for at least a year before I ever got to it.

      IMJ NATION! Keep the suggestions coming! Can’t say I’ll do them all (or any) but we’d love to know what’s on YOUR minds!

  11. The Amazing Mike says:

    I saw this at my LCS and the store I work nearby and was like ‘WTF?! Do they mean Aunt May and Uncle Ben?”. Glad I didn’t decide to pick this up. On a side note how mean would it be to go into the Marvel U and leave Peter a copy of this?

    • Insideman says:

      Welcome to IMJ, The Amazing Mike! (Hope to see you again!)

      What a great idea. Suddenly, I really do wish PETER and AUNT MAY were real.

      They could sue these assholes for defamation. :D

      • The Amazing Mike says:

        Thanks for the Welcome! :) I’ve been here and checked up on the site from time to time but never posted.
        That would be the best comic related lawsuit next to Gaiman suing McFarlane and a judge having to read Spawn Lore. I find humor in odd places.

        • Insideman says:

          Jose told me a little while ago that you commented at his old site! Glad to have you here.

          Jump in whenever you like!

  12. Locusmortis says:

    I quit reading Amazing Spider-man with Sins Past, it was the most appalling marvel comic I’d ever read. It was no surprise to subsequently find out that Quesada was the genius behind it, I’d expect better from Strascynski.

    Regarding Millar, I never read Trouble as I was well aware of his shiteness as a writer from his earlier 2000ad work. Asking him to do a romance comic is like asking Jack the Ripper to organise a night out in London, it was never going to end well. It was particularly galling as the old Epic line with Epic Illustrated, Akira, the Last American, the Moebius graphic novels et al were so great.

    Millar has this stupid idea that “maturity” equals lots of tits n’ass and fucking, he could do with being forced to read something like Suzuka or Kimi no Iru Machi by Kouji Seo to see how someone with a mentality thats progressed beyond adolesence writes.

  13. Rob-ot says:

    Dear, sweet Jeebus…
    Evidently this abhorrent piece of trash came out during my “hiatus” from comics (sounds like I dropped out around the same time as you ISM). But, I have heard rumblings about “Trouble” and I know I’ve seen those HORRIFIC covers before, probably on a list of “worst things to ever happen to comics” or something along those lines… What the fuck were they thinking!?! I am having ‘trouble’ wrapping my head around this… I’m sorry, I thought I had more to say… I just can’t believe this book even exists. Looks like I have yet another reason to loathe Mark Millar and marvel comics…

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