FF 17 Review (Spoilers)

You want to know the status of Mary Jane and Peter’s relationship?

Check in here to find that, Pete’s new fling, alien linen closets, the worst roommate ever, the best roommate ever, and the one thing so important both Spider-Man and Peter Parker have made it their number one priority in life to fix.

FF #17: The Roommate Experiment

Script: J. Hickman

Art: N. Dragotta

Color: C. Sotomayor

Letters: C. Cowles

Cover: M. Choi

Editors: J. Denning, L. Sankovitch, T. Breevort

Plot: Three weeks into the roommate experiment, Peter Parker and his alter ego Spider-Man have one must do thing on their respective lists: Kick Johnny Storm out. However, not finding the macho to pull this off, he is leaving the house when on an adventure to get his jacket he ends up in the Negative Zone. Johnny ends up saving Peter from his alien lackeys and Peter is off to Horizon to give an important demostration when Johnny calls him on the emergency Fantasti-Phone to ask him to bring home drinks (Pete brings soda, not beer… silly Pete) and chips for a party after work.

Turns out Johnny has the Light Brigade over for a wicked party and after both he and Peter partake in the houseboy partner ritual of taking a shot of milk from the sun mare who claimed a thousand lives, chaos ensues. Peter, Johnny, MJ, and Kal Blackbane and Els Udonta of the Light Brigade end up going on multiple adventures with multiple hook-ups (Johnny/MJ, Peter/Els, Kal/the horse of a riot officer).

The next morning, Peter awakens to Johnny talking to MJ on the phone about how great last night was, though he implies it was just a prank to tick off Pete. When Peter goes to relieve himself and discovers Annhilius is living in his bathroom, Peter finally kicks Johnny out of his house.

Thoughts: I’m going to be honest, the moment I put this issue down I had a grin on my face from cheek to cheek, it was just so crazy and hectic and I knew I had missed several things along the way, so I immediately picked it up and read it again. There was no grin the second time, as I picked up on one largely infuriating fact that I had missed the first time round and I’ll get to later.

 Unlike most issues of the FF and Fantastic Four, Hickman is not the star player here for me, in fact it’s Dragotta whose art style I admit I’m not a big fan of. He uses the classic nerdy looking Peter (I’m a fan of the A. Garfield Peter personally), but he’s on fire here (pun intended) and there are several pages that will have no dialogue but tons of wicked crazy things going on in the background and foreground. Also, most of the pages feature some kind of to-do list about Johnny Storm that evolves from eviction to murdering and hiding the body which is an enjoyable on going gag in the issue. His character expressions are fantastically exaggerated, which really works for this story and he draws a fantastic looking Light Brigade.

When it comes to writing the issue, I really felt like there was two different writers for this issue. The book is told through Peter’s perspective and Hickman shows that he has a good grasp on Peter Parker, but we’ve known that since early in his run. His Light Brigade is hilarious, especially his Kal Blackbane who takes the line of the week while playing Poker with Johnny, and who would totally be an awesome roommate. Also impressive is the done-in-one aspect that Hickman is trying to apply to most of his stories until the end of his run, rather than trying to create new epics.

However, when Hickman gets to writing Johnny Storm in this issue, it is overly frustrating. Gone is the newly developed Johnny Storm we saw in Forever and in his place we have an absolute douche bag. There is no real spark in the Johnny/Peter relationship here, no sense of closure to the fact Peter got one of his best friends back from the dead, the humor rarely works between the two in this issue, and we see no maturity or fallout when it comes to Johnny being evicted from Pete’s place. There is nothing new or even endearing between Peter and Johnny here and it’s frustrating and saddening, because I don’t think Peter will be back in the Fantastic books during Hickman’s run.

And last, but definitely not least, Johnny Storm is a royal $#@%ing #$%^ this issue, when it comes to Mary Jane and the rest of Peter’s personal life. Hickman can and has written Johnny so much better than this and there is no way the Johnny who sacrificed himself to save Ben and the kids would start grinding with Peter’s ex in front of him, potentially bang her (I think he did, despite him playing it off as a joke), and then rub it in Peter’s face, joke or not. You don’t do that with your best friend’s ex, what the hell was Hickman thinking writing Johnny Storm as this total $#^@wad of a character? If Johnny did that to me, there would be a lot more than eviction coming his way. And it’s Annhilius, not this that makes Peter kick him out? Give me an effing break, OMD has managed to taint even Hickman’s run.

Line of the issue: “HA, MY HOME IS ENGORGED!”- Kal Blackbane, upon getting a full house.

Verdict: This was the issue I was looking most forward to, more than anything since it was announced; Hickman, Peter/Johnny (one of the best bromances in comics), and a new status quo for the bromance.

This issue was a fun if frustrating one, with some good moments with Peter and the Light Brigade and some of Hickman’s worst characterization ever. I’m not gonna lie, even in light of the MJ thing, I did have a good time with the issue, it’s just upon further examination that I get royally pissed. And if this is the end of Hickman writing Spider-Man in the Fantastic Four books (which it is heavily implied, but never said), then he went out on a whimper with Peter. It was all fun, all immature, and while I do enjoy a fun comic, I would like it to ultimately mean something and develop the relationship between Peter and Johnny and if anything, this issue regresses their relationship.


Oh and btw, totally read Fantastic Four #605. It was the second issue of Fantastic Four in a row to bring a tear to my eye and it’s everything this issue was not, featuring a beautiful look at Reed Richards and Ben Grimm’s relationship, while progressing the characters and plot-lines forward. For my full thoughts you can hear my review of it on the latest episode (#11) of the Mixed Marvel Arts podcast.

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(11) Comments

  1. Lilliana

    Spot on with this write-up, I truly think this web site needs far more attention. I'll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the advice!

  2. Spider-Gopher24

    I really enjoyed this issue, and had a big goofy grin on my face the whole time I read it, but I totally get what you're saying here.

  3. cubman987

    Yes Kal Blackbane was definetly one of the reasons I liked this ("Ha My home is engourged was classic")...but I just found this issue a fun read. I literally laughed out loud a couple of times while reading this....I thought it was a classic Pete and Johnny story...most of what Johnny did to annoy Pete wasn't meant to be sinister, it was either accidental (like forgetting to tell him about the closet) or him just being ignorant to how normal people act and being how he always is around Pete...I think it's good that maybe he's changed a bit but not in how him and Pete interact...I mean, there's no way them living together could have turned out any other way in my opinion. Also that last page was super awesome/funny.

  4. Shaun Martineau - Post author

    @#2: Well, joke or not, Johnny was still a royal prick this issue and immature, which bothered me, considering Hickman was the one who seemed to be taking Johnny into a more mature area. And joke or not, by the end of this issue Peter and Johnny seemed to have taken a step back in their friendship. I would really like one more issue with Pete to see some sort of fallout/progression beyond Johnny being a jerk.@#4: I didn't hate the issue, just the way Johnny was portrayed in it. I still think it was a crazy night amongst friends, but it went too far (especially in the pre/post party scenes) and leaves a sour taste in your mouth. Care to share what you loved about it? Apparently I'm in the minority and in the wrong, as a few cussed filled reviews have informed me. (sarcasm) but I'd like to hear why you thought it was great and please let Kal Blackbane be a reason =)@#5: Well there was that thing with Alicia Masters....

  5. cubman987

    Wow, gonna have to disagree with this review, I thought this issue was great. I think it's pretty clear the whole MJ thing was a joke, other than yes he did dance with her.

  6. Jared

    To be fair to Johnny, he did figure out he went too far when he smelled what Annalus was cooking and kicked himself out.

  7. stillanerd

    Nah, I think it was pretty apparent that Johnny was messing with Peter's head like he said (and, based on the dialogue, also messing with MJ's head if that really was her on the phone)--that's why Peter merely started grumbling and cursing under his breath instead of, you know, knocking Johnny's clean off his shoulders. Even so, I think Hickman got the point across: Johnny Storm is the worst best friend/roommate ever!

  8. Spec Spider Fan

    Good review..won't be picking this one up...art is meh..and the MJ thing is beyond douchery....wipes feet with issue in disgust:(..

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