Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Publisher: Marvel Comics
After last year's Wha... Huh? issue made quite a success out of lampooning many of Marvel's own characters and events, I was looking forward to a similar blast of irreverent, iconoclastic fun here. Boy, was I wrong. I don't know what the story was behind the creation of this comic, what the rationale was for publishing a Spider-Ham one-shot, or who came up with the idea, but I do know that Marvel seems to have forgotten a cardinal rule as far as these throwaway issues go: if you're going to publish a humour comic and charge $2.99 for it, you'd better make damn sure it's funny.
Straczynski's story starts humorously enough, with Spider-Ham musing on the disappearance of thought balloons in comics and their replacement with caption boxes. The tale then takes a turn into a toothless Civil War parody (maybe Marvel thought it wasn't good business to mock their big crossover event comic whilst it's still running?), which then degenerates into a narrative-free succession of splash pages, assembling a collection of fairly high-profile artists to cheekily redesign a variety of Marvel characters (which would be a mildly novel concept if Rich Johnston hadn't already used it for his Civil Wardrobe parody issue, released last year) as pigs, in keeping with the Spider-Ham theme.
There's barely a joke in sight, and for a comic which is meant to be a light bit of fluff to go for panels (or even pages) at a time without laughs is pretty unforgivable. It's as though someone came up with the idea of doing a Spider-Ham comic but couldn't be bothered to actually make something interesting out of it. It's a painful misfire of an issue, and the fact that almost all of the pin-up art which comprises half of the book has already been previewed online should remove any reason to buy it, even for die-hard Spider-Ham fans (if such a thing exists). If Straczynski wanted to write a humorous comic, maybe he should have tried to come up with some original or wacky concepts to make it fun (or hey, even some good jokes?) as a story about a bewildered soul suffering from a drought of good ideas seems to be a bit too close to the truth.
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!