Comics : Home Depot: Safety Heroes
This story is part of a Lookback Series: A Word From Our Sponsor
This review was first published on: 2008.
Over the years Marvel has produced numerous "specialty" comics that have partnered the publisher with various pro-social groups and corporations utilizing the various Marvel characters to promote specific causes or products. One of these companies that sponsored a comic to tie in with their product was Home Depot.
Franklin Richards contacts his parents (Reed Richards and Sue Storm) along with the rest of the Fantastic Four, who team up with Spider-Man and the Safety Heroes who work at The Home Depot to rescue a neighborhood from some misguided (but essentially harmless) aliens, who are looking for some mechanically-inclined individuals who can help them repair their failing technology.
Home Depot: Safety Heroes
Nov 2004 : SM Guest
Summary: Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Franklin Richards, and Home Depot
Several children exit their suburban homes to find that their parents are missing. Franklin Richards who is in the neighborhood, visiting a friend, contacts his parents and the rest of the FF to come and help. As the FF perform a fly-by in the Fantasti-car, The Human Torch swings by in his own unique way, and spots a neighborhood grill that has a fire raging out of control.
Utilizing his amazing mastery over flame Johnny Storm absorbs the flame into his own body, thus eliminating the danger. Meanwhile Patrick, (Franklin's friend) found his father's power drill and decides that he is going to pla with it, and do some random drilling unsupervised by an adult. Only before he can do anything the drill flies out of his hands, seemingly under its own power. Sue Storm (The Invisible Woman, and Franklin's mom) appears, and chastises the youth for horsing around with power tools. Reed (Mr. Fantastic) arrives on the scene and backs up his wife in her admonishment of the child. Nearby, The Thing rescues a cat that is stuck up in a tree by uprooting the tree and gently allowing the cat to climb down.
At this point we learn that all of the parents have been abducted by a race of heretofore-unknown race of aliens from the planet Klulez (Clue-less, get it, it is a joke). It is also at this point that Spidey shows up on the scene. Apparently he was cutting through the neighborhood and was abducted with all of the other adults. He swings into action and webs up a number of the Aliens. Only this action puts the Alien's space ship into a tailspin. Positioning himself on the exterior hull of the ship, Spidey webs up a gigantic web-chute in an attempt to slow the ship down, which he does enough for Mr. Fantastic to catch it.
Reunited with their families the aliens reveal that the only reason that they had kidnapped the adults was that they needed someone to help them repair and run the alien machinery, as the aliens themselves could no longer understand how the machines work, or how to repair them as they began to fail. Franklin makes a suggestion to his father, who realizes that the idea is not just great, but fantastic.
The heroes transport the aliens to the nearest Home Depot and, with the help of the employees of Home Depot (the Safety Heroes) they teach the aliens about how to safely do home repairs (wear goggles, gloves, etc.). The Home Depot employees also give tips on cooking, fire building and space heaters, as well as smoke detectors as well as teach the aliens how to build a bird house. Ever so grateful the aliens thank the FF, Spidey, and the Safety Heroes for their help, and head back to their home secure in the knowledge that they can do it themselves (and that Home Depot can help).
The book is designed as a teaching tool to be given to kids so that they will learn how to properly respect tools and their proper usage. In this regard, I feel that it succeeds by teaching the kids in a friendly, and entertaining way, on a level that young children can understand without talking down or preaching to them.
The comic is cute and includes a couple of pin-ups as well as a full page ad detailing when the next couple of in-store building workshops are so that kids can come and learn. Plus it has an ad about what a true hero needs to be prepared, as well as pencil maze that kids can practice how to plan their escape in the event of an emergency.
This comic was issued in 2004.