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Trouble #2

Posted: Monday, August 18, 2003
By: Tim Hartnett



Writer: Mark Millar
Artists: Terry and Rachel Dodson

Publisher: Marvel/EPIC

The second of the new EPIC comics is here, as Trouble continues its stories of teens who will probably be in, well, a lot of trouble. I can still say that whatever audience Marvel chose for this book, they aren't catering to them very well, but the story is turning out on a mediocre level, even if it is predictable.

Mark Millar is crafting this one in parallels, with one couple being a foil to the other. One on side, we have Ben and May, who appear to be the less glamorous of the bunch, but still engage in sex a lot. On the other, we have Mary and Richie, but unfortunately for Richie, Mary thinks that she will wait before taking her clothes off for him. Mr. Millar furthers the characterization of the teens by establishing their ambitious natures, even if they are relatively the same. There's also an interesting scene where Mary explains how a palm reader told her that she'd be a mother before twenty, and no one will ever call May a mother. This is probably a sign of things to come, and also serves as a device to remind us of Richie's character. The hotel guests continue to be a pest, as Mary finds herself hitting one in the face.

I still wish Mr. Millar would've spent time explaining why the couples ended up how they did, as I found the first issue rather rushed. Even though there are fundamental distinctions now between the characters, they still look alike at times, and relatively all have the same personality. Moreover, the humor remains quite predictable, and as much as I'd like to have fun with this story, it just seems that Mr. Millar is trying hard to cater to the wishes of comic book and Spider-Man fans, rather than a new audience. The only thing I laughed at was Mark's blatant liberalism once again, when the guys are talking about how many animals were killed to make their coat. (Not that there's anything wrong with that, I just think it doesn't belong here, especially after that X-Men Unlimited debacle a few months ago.)

And that's where I still can't decide who the audience is. The obvious is teenage girls, but due to the cover images and the characters involved, I can't see this one appealing to them on a large scale. I did notice that Marvel's trying to turn this into somewhat of a fashion magazine, establishing which company provided the bikinis for the cover. It's so subtly done, that I doubt it would make a difference anyway; it just shows what this magazine could have been. Furthermore, this does not appear to be marketed to teenage females, as stated before with the cover images, but also the fact that this is a comic book, which doesn't appear to be the preferred entertainment route for that demographic. Now on the other hand, this could be catered to Spider-Man and comic fans, as it is (unfortunately) supposed to be the birth of Peter Parker, and it has some comic book references throughout. But I do question that with the artwork and subject matter, as I don't think this comic has much a shock value or originality at all, especially in 2003. That goes for teenagers too.

The art comes from Terry Dodson, and while most of it is a gorgeous cartoon, I find some of the character look more like pork products than humans. Not to mention the fact that I can't tell some of the characters apart from time to time. Matt Hollingsworth's colors are quite nice though, and suit the story well in their excessively bright nature. I also like the fact that everything was drawn in panel.

When all is said and done, I guess it's ok, but I don't really see the need to run out and get this book. And if this turns into the birth of Peter Parker, than you're gonna be looking at one pissed off reviewer.



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