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.