Comics : Office Max/Teachers Count: Brain Drain!

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This review was first published on: 2006.

Background...

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 Office Max, which partnered with Marvel Entertainment and TeachersCount in a nationwide contest to find the "OfficeMax Super Hero Teacher of the Year" earlier this year. Of the 4,200 entries submitted, six winning middle school teachers and the students who nominated them were announced in June. The 12 winners are now featured as illustrated characters in the new custom comic book.

In Detail...

"Brain Drain!"
Office Max/Teachers Count: Brain Drain!
Sep 2006 : SM Guest
Summary: Stars Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four
Editor:  Nicole Boose
Writer:  Tom DeFalco
Pencils:  Ron Lim
Inker:  Mostafa Moussa, Pat Davidson
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Review

Midtown High teacher Peter Parker, finds himself standing between his student Allison Slattery and a Doombot. He is getting ready to reveal his secret identity (of Spider-Man) when he is saved from having to do this by The Human Torch, who has been following the 'bot and incinerates it shortly after it breaks through the wall of Peter's classroom. Then, after excusing themselves from his student, The Torch has Peter change into Spidey, and follow him back to the Baxter Building.

Once there, Mr. Fantastic explains to Spidey that his student wasn't the first that was stalked by a Doombot; several other students (all brilliant like Peter's student) had been stalked, and attacked. Each of them had their brains literally drained by the robots, which essentially sucked all of their knowledge out of them. Mr. Fantastic has assembled each of the students teachers to the Baxter Building so that they can each assist in the process of retrieving each of the kid's brains.

With the teachers in tow, Spidey and the Fantastic Four fly off in the Fantasticar to one of Doom's castles, where the FF & Spidey take the direct approach and break into the castle, only they are almost immediately taken captive by Doom. Realizing that something is wrong, the teachers determine that they will help, and choose to follow the heroes into Doom's castle, and confront the mad European monarch.

While he is distracted, they manage to release the heroes who then manage to not only apprehend Doom, but also free and restore the students to their former brilliance.

In General...

be sure, the story is contrived (the FF and Spidey not only needing a bunch of non-powered teachers to solve a problem, but taking them into the heart of Doom's castle (which is not in Latveria, but for some reason apparently in upstate New York). Still, the story is not meant to be taken as official Marvel cannon, but as a whimsical tale that incorporates real-people into a Marvel comic. To this end the comic succeeds (not only incorporating the teachers and their students, but by including several of the teachers' pet sayings and specific mannerisms.

Overall Rating...

As I've said in the past, I really enjoy these types of comics. This one I specifically enjoyed because it is dedicated to real-life teachers who were nominated by their real-life students (he winning essays are included in the back of the book). All-in-all, a good deal of fun.

Footnote...

This comic was issued in 2006, and also includes brief bios of several of the principals of the TeachersCounts organization. There are also ads for Office Max and teacher-related organizations.