"The Menace of Monster Isle"
Writer: Todd DeZago
Artists: Shane Davis(p), Larry Stucker(i), Avalon's Dave Kemp(c)
The Marvel Adventures line of comic books attempts to challenge Johnny DC's focus on the kiddies, and while some may find these tales immature or childish, I'll take that over Gwen Stacy shagging the Sinister Six in flashback any day.
Todd DeZago presents a special Earth Day centered Spider-Man Marvel Team-Up Special. To be frank; it's a little preachy and doesn't always succeed in getting it's message through.
The catalyst--pollution on Monster Isle--works beautifully, and the sight of Roxxon Chemicals on the drums of oil killing all the birds is bound to make anybody who grew up reading comics in the seventies grin. Less impressive is the infodump defining biodegradable and detailing the ozone layer. The expository dialogue according to the story is meant to inform Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm. Ben and Johnny can't be that stupid. Still, the clunky fact-checking is balanced by Reed actually conceiving a device that's well within his creative capabilities and in the real world could be very useful.
The way in which the FF and the Mole Man comes together exhibits ingenuity, and Spidey being thrown into the mix while not necessary certainly adds to the fun. The way he comes into the fray is crude but believable, and once the monsters are thrown into the mix, DeZago launches the super-hero mayhem.
It's nice to see an all-ages entertainment book not relying on manga or American styled anime. Shane Davis and Larry Stucker offer instead the kind of detail, the level of proportion and tactility you expect from a "normal" comic book. They make a great team, and delight in displaying the Mole Man dramatically posturing, Spidey's arachnid-fueled acrobatics or the FF's family atmosphere. Also of note is that they make Sue look hot. I knew the casting of Jessica Alba was a good idea.
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