I lost four dollars on FF #17. Gone. Poof. Jeff bet me I would like it. He said he’d double my money if I didn’t like it. I paid $2 on comiXology for it. All I had to do was not like it and I would have walked away with $4 beautiful dollar bills.
Jonathan Hickman always lets me down. In this particular instance, he let me down because I was hoping this book sucked. But, it didn’t.
I’ve largely shit on Hickman in the podcasts and my reviews. I just find his writing generally confusing and way too deep. I don’t need details in my comics that don’t pay off for 30 issues; unless it’s a Brian K Vaughn book or something. Anyway, this book is the total opposite of a normal Hickman book. It’s self-contained, humorous, and has a charm to it that reminds me slightly of Archie.
FF #17 came out 2012 around the time that Johnny Storm was revealed to be still alive (shocker, I know). This was in the middle of Hickman’s massive Fantastic Four opus of which I read roughly the first 30% before growing increasingly annoyed with how quickly I fell asleep trying to read the issues. FF was a spin-off title to help Hickman weave his tale of different worlds and many Reeds, and make me waste money on the Fantastic Four.
Johnny Storm has moved in with Peter Parker. I guess the Baxter Building was too full to accommodate The Human Torch’s ego. Anyway, Parker is boring in a way in which I can completely relate. Seeing Torch and Peter do all the Odd Couple style interactions makes me cringe. Johnny wakes Parker up, gives him misinformation, makes a mess of the kitchen for breakfast, sends Peter into the negative zone, and manages to make Peter late to work.
Johnny interrupts an important presentation at Horizon Labs and causes all Peter’s coworkers to have shrunken heads. Pete has to work late to fix them and then ends up getting “soda” (pretty sure it’s supposed to be beer) for a house party that his roommate is throwing at HIS house. Ugh. I’m annoyed with Storm and I’m not even in this story.
Throughout the book, it’s not just about annoying Peter. There are some really clever and funny moments. Parker comes home to find all manners of crazies in his apartment. My favorite, and I’m sure many others’ favorite, is Kal the strange horse man.
Then Peter gives into peer pressure.
Only to be a bad example for any child that would actually read this book.
Peter ends up learning a major lesson after this though. That no amount of fun, or helping a buddy out is worth a shitty roommate.
And then the last straw. I won’t spoil the last page but it’s pretty fucking awesome. I would even say worth the $2 price tag at comiXology.
This particular issue is drawn by Nick Dragotta. I mentioned Archie earlier and I think a good bit of that vibe is from the art and coloring. The line work is very clear and thin. Very little about the art is rough. I think Nick Dragotta did a good job of figuring out about 30 ways to draw a slightly different annoyed look.
I think I liked this book mostly because I found Peter extremely relatable in this issue. The emotions that Peter feels, I feel and I don’t get that in many comics these days. Johnny Storm is annoying as shit and Peter can’t deal with it. When he does finally crack a little and try to loosen up, Parker has a good time. Once he sobers up though, he realizes that no small amount of fun can make up for living with an irresponsible fuck up.