Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The End Of A Legend!


There can't be many Fantastic Four readers who are unfamiliar with a scene like this:



The Thing, once again sent a mysterious package that's been booby-trapped by the infamous Yancy Street Gang, Ben Grimm's nemeses from his old neighborhood that get their kicks from harassing him with pranks designed to humiliate him.



The shenanigans of the Yancy Street Gang were among those mainstays in Marvel Comics you could depend on, like Dr. Doom's facial damage or the death of Bucky--foundations of the Marvel universe that were always good enough as is and never needed to be tinkered with. But in late 2002--after forty years of watching the Yancy Street Gang prevail against the Thing and waiting to see what they would come up with next--writer Mark Waid pulls the virtual rug out from under us.




Johnny of course would be the natural choice as the culprit if the YSG were going to be taken off the hook. The question is, why bother with a new angle? This story is well written and funny--but we've spent years getting perpetual mileage out of the YSG, regular Joes who proved they could slip by FF security and nail the Thing over and over. Was it getting "old"? Did identifying the Gang deprive the pranks of their anonymity and fun? Whatever Waid's reasoning, this one story effectively puts an end to a good chunk of Marvel history that will be missed.

But in all fairness, let's see how the story plays out, as Ben beats an angry path to the novelty store so that he can track down the package's sender(s), while Johnny tries to head him off:











Thanks to Sue, Johnny has dodged a bullet, to say nothing of a rock-like fist--and Ben, unlike the rest of us, can go on blaming the YSG for his past postal nightmares, which may have come to an end now that Johnny has had the fear of God put into him.  But Johnny may also cease fire because he's also been made to understand how deeply those insulting pranks have affected Ben--a nice touch by Waid, though in the end he may have helped to fix what really wasn't broken.

1 comment:

Colin Jones said...

It's like Aunt Petunia being revealed as a twentysomething - is nothing sacred ? I didn't even know about this till today !

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