Ultimate Civil War: Spider-Ham

Background

Basically all you need to know is that Spider-Ham (alias Peter Porker) is back with his existential laments on life. Writer J. Michael Straczynski has promised to take a Spider-Ham on a journey across time in search of his beloved thought balloons. The premise seems good but you must read on to find out...

Story 'Spider-Ham'

Spider-Ham is depressed that Marvel has decided to end the practice of using thought balloons in their comic books. He literally collects his thoughts by the bushel and determines to find his rightful thought balloons. First stop: Smack-dab in the middle of Marvel 616's Civil War. He questions what people do when they're out of ideas. Iron Man and Captain America engage in some back and forth banter while Cap erroneously shots a spot for his own "outraged action figure."

Spider-Ham then pays a visit to Dr. Strange and is disgusted by the good doctor's poor choice in language. Strange and Spider-Ham are then caught in one of his spells because Spider-Ham is not kosher. They go back in time to when Peter Porker was fighting in The 'Ham (Vietnam). Porker is instructed to await his destiny. The horror of Wolverham terrifies Porker. We then see montages of Iron Ham, Green Ham, the Fantastic Ham, Deviled Ham, Ant-Ham, Aunt-Ham, Ultimate Captain Hamerica, Hambit, and Hamneto!

Thankfully, Dr. Strange finds Spider-Ham by tracing the damaged trademarks he has left in his wake. Strange gets irritated at Spider-Ham for questioning his magical abilities. He returns Spider-Ham back to where he was at the beginning of the story. More lamenting ensues. Ultimately, Spider-Ham figures he could be worse off. Two mice (one in the red and blues and one in the black costume) comment in thought that at least they aren't pigs like Spider-Ham. Spider-Ham rejoices in this happy ending. However, a contingent of Zombie Ham ruins the happy ending.

General Comments

This one-shot was a complete waste of an amusing character. Frankly, the question needs to be asked why this was even made in the first place. Spider- Ham has always been a satirical character in the vein of Howard the Duck. But what does JMS decide to do? Devote half the comic to splash pages of Ham puns on Marvel characters. Utterly yawn inducing indeed. The one-shot started off well at least. The punned credits were amusing and Spider-Ham began with his trademark soliloquies. In addition, JMS was able to lightly make fun of the seriousness behind Civil War. But jeez, that's only six pages into the comic book that's good.

JMS seems to miss the point behind Dr. Strange's obtuse phrases. Brian K. Vaughn in his Dr. Strange: The Oath mini-series did a much better job in conveying the humorous aspects behind "the hoary hosts of hoggoth." And then come the unneeded splash pages...Did I actually pay $2.99 for this garbage (The answer is yes unfortunately)? I think JMS is an above average writer when he puts his mind to it. He's definitely in a rut though between this one-shot, Bullet Points, and his icky characterization problems on Spidey's flagship title.

Overall Rating

I'm being generous with my rating. Don't buy this filth. If you must, read it in the store instead. It'll take you five minutes, if that.