Comics : Trouble #4

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This review was first published on: 2004.


May, Mary, Richard and Ben are at summer camp. These aren't Spider-Man's mom/pop/aunt/uncle, so don't worry. This is just some teen-age angst story. I have no idea why we're reviewing it. But we are, so here goes.

In Detail...

Trouble #4
Dec 2003 : SM Spin-Off
Editor:  Axel Alonso
Writer:  Mark Millar
Pencils:  Terry Dodson
Inker:  Rachel Dodson
Staff Only

May is screwing Richard, who is Mary's boyfriend. Richard and Mary aren't shagging, just snogging. May's boyfriend is Ben, who is also giving it to May. Ben is Richard's brother, by the way. They're all working at a summer camp.

Now, May has gotten herself knocked up. This has something to do with a fortune-teller's prophecy going wrong. So Mary, also part of the prophecy, decides that it's safe to finally shag Richard. She does... big time. Long time.

May decides to talk to Richard about the baby. But he goes first. Now that he's getting some from Mary, that big horny secret-sex deal with May isn't needed, so she clams up about the bubby. After all, she still has one other potential father.

So May goes to talk to Ben about the baby. In return, he tells her that he's sterile. Oops. So he knows she was shagging somebody else. Everything comes out into the open. Ben is majorly pissed with Richard, and packs his stuff and leaves. Needless to say, Mary and Richard aren't that hot either any more.

May doesn't know if she should get an abortion or not. Can we say "abortion" on this page? I guess so. There's this big conscience devil/angel debate in May's mind. She doesn't want to squish the sprog at seven weeks, but then again she doesn't want to tell her ultra-religious dad, who will surely flip, and go beat her mom like he usually does.

The moralising is pretty pathetic at this point. Firstly, Millar seems happy to go for a nice safe stereo type "ultra-religious/wife-beater" cheap shot at May's father. In fact, statistically speaking in comics, you would have to say that fathers really don't get good press at all. 40% are loathesome wife-beaters/mutant-haters/uncaring-scientists, basically bad parents for some reason or other. Another 40% die in accidents or violently at the hands of some psychopath. The remaining 20% is split between secret government agents, and a small fraction of actually decent people. But I digress.

The other cheap moralising shot is the rather one-sided debate between May's good & bad consciences. As it happens, the "pro-life" conscience is well-spoken and articulate, and can reel off all the arguments as if they came out of the pamphlet Millar wrote last week. The "pro-choice" guy pops up weak lamoid points which are easily shot down by the pro-lifer. Abortion is a pretty damned serious debate, and whatever your take on it, it stinks to put up an inbalanced argument in the guise of a real discussion. Kids deserve to be better informed, not fed propaganda in the form of a half-assed Socratic dialogue.

Anyhow, in the end, May makes the "third choice". Instead of fragging the foetus, or going back to her psycho family, she decides to hit the road on her own, and give the kid the kind of worthwhile life that only a homeless teenage solo parent can offer.

And before you get up in arms, that last wise-crack is what is known as sardonic. That means that I'm not actually criticising May's choice in this simplistic morality play. I'm just saying that if that was May's only choice left, then things must be pretty desparate. Bringing up a kid by yourself is one of the hardest things you can do in this world. I should know, I saw my mom basically do it. So don't go blasting me about dissing couragous solo parents. OK?

\Sar*don"ic\, a. [F. sardonique, L. sardonius, Gr. ?, ?, perhaps fr. ? to grin like a dog, or from a certain plant of Sardinia, Gr. ?, which was said to screw up the face of the eater.] Forced; unnatural; insincere; hence, derisive, mocking, malignant, or bitterly sarcastic; -- applied only to a laugh, smile, or some facial semblance of gayety.

In General...

Have teen-age romance comics always been this bad? Probably. I guess some things don't change. Maybe educated 30-something liberals aren't the target audience they're aiming at here. But still, I bought the book, so I can't complain now. All I can do is give it a rating.

Overall Rating...

Boring. Shallow. Moralising. Not even any juicy sex scenes. Half a web. Terry Dodson should go back to inking the Black Cat's humungous... err... hair-do.