Comic Book Review
Ryan Dosier – Muppet Robin Hood from BOOM! Studios continues with the third issue. In issue #2, Robin Hood (Kermit) and his Merry Men had just trashed the dinner party of Prince John (Johnny Fiama) and royally ticked off the prince (get it?).
Issue #3 was released in August, 2009.
Issue #3 starts in the middle of a concert. Above the stage is a banner that reads “King Richard and the Crusades: The Hot ‘n Holy Tour.” We soon find out that the Crusades are really Floyd Pepper, Zoot, Animal, and Dr. Teeth. After a few bad puns (even by Muppet standards) Pepe the King Prawn is revealed as King Richard—for once the shrimp actually is the king prawn. Who’da thunk it? King Richard has been touring with the Crusades for reasons that aren’t explained very well—all I really caught was that Robin Hood left the Crusades to return to England and now he’s more popular than King Richard ever was, thus making the prawn jealous and causing him to cancel the Holy Land tour and return to England.
Just as soon as we’re introduced to the Crusades, we’re taken to a new scene. Prince John is in need of a new plan to capture Robin Hood. With the help of Sir Sal, Guy of Gisbourne (Gonzo), and the Sheriff of Nottingham (Sam Eagle), Prince John devises a trap for catching Robin Hood. After a suggestion from Bean Bunny (in a very brief, yet surprisingly funny, cameo appearance), it’s decided that an archery contest will be used to catch the thief.
Upon returning to Sherwood Forest, Friar Tuck (Fozzie Bear) informs Robin Hood and the Merry Men about the contest. They immediately realize it’s a trap, but the head-strong Robin decides to go anyway, only in a disguise. Much the Miller’s Son (Scooter), who has an affinity for sewing, agrees to make the disguise.
Now we’re back at the castle, where Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker are conducting experiments with technology that is far to advanced to have existed in the Dark Ages, but that’s beside the point. Wait… no it’s not. After setting an entire story in this time period, it feels weird to create a “Voice-Activated, Motion-Sensing Arrow.” It completely breaks the fourth wall—and not in the good way the Muppets usually do.
Anyway, Honeydew gives Prince John the arrow for the Sheriff to use in the contest and Prince John sulks into the darkness outside for some reason. Here, he meets Tuck, who tells him that Robin Hood will be in attendance at the contest in a disguise. It’s here we finally see a Fozzie-like side to Tuck who feels guilty for spying on Robin and the Merry Men. We quickly see Fozzie’s Ma being held in a dark tower as Prince John’s prisoner and we understand why he does whatever John asks.
The next day, with awful costume in hand, Robin and the Merry Men abscond to the archery contest. Some fun Muppety mayhem ensues for the first time at the archery contest. Robin Hood flirts with Maid Marian (Miss Piggy) and is totally rejected again—no matter, though! He’s Robin Hood! The Sheriff gets heckled by the crowd and completely misses his shot, and Robin wins.
But, of course, this is a victory that ends with Robin being captured by the Prince’s guards and tossed in the dungeon.
The tone in issue #3 is better than the previous two issues of Muppet Robin Hood. We finally get to see some Muppety fun at the archery contest—unfortunately it only lasts a few pages. The rest of the story still feels weird and unfunny. I do like the sympathy we get to feel for Tuck when we find out Prince John has his Ma, but other than that the tone remains all wrong.
Actually, thinking about it more, I think I’ve figured out what’s wrong. All of the characters are rude. King Richard is a total jerk to Dr. Teeth and he just takes it—Dr. Teeth would not take that. Even Kermit plays the jerk a few times in his fights with Gonzo and Sam. Kermit should never play the jerk.
The writing here has improved slightly. I still have my gripes about the way Tim Beedle writes Kermit, Sam, Gonzo, Sweetums, Robin, and Miss Piggy—and now I can add on that I really despise the way Pepe, Bobo, and the Electric Mayhem are written.
I do, however, like how Johnny, Sal, Fozzie, Bunsen, Clifford, George the Janitor, and Pops are written. I suppose that may look like the good outweighs the bad, but most of the characters that I like are too minor to really make an impact.
I just don’t really understand some of the things some of the characters say. Yes, this is the Muppets playing the Robin Hood cast, but they don’t have to say things that are so uncharacteristic to their personalities. Sam loses his temper twice in this issue for ridiculous reasons—Tim Beedle doesn’t seem to understand that Sam only loses his temper as the last straw. He just gets annoyed and disgusted by the Muppets, not so angry that he spits.
Sam is just one example of the bad writing/characterization given here. It’s really a shame.
The art continues to be the worst part of every issue. These grievances are meant as no insult to artist Armand Villavert, Jr.’s talent—he really is a very good artist—he just has no sense of what the Muppets should look like at all.
Clifford looks like a woman in two panels and an eel in the rest, I can’t tell the difference between his Piggy and his Annie Sue, his Scooter’s head is misshapen, Beaker looks like a cocaine addict, Floyd looks like a demon in one frame, and Dr. Teeth looks like a hobo and doesn’t even have glasses.
Pepe, Animal, Bobo, Bean, and Pops look okay though. Oh, and Crazy Harry and George the Janitor are spot-on perfect. George even does archery with a mop—one that Crazy Harry quickly blows up. That was a highlight. Too bad it only took place in four frames all together.
While I do support the Muppets in all of their comic book under-takings, if you’re going to skip one of them, Muppet Robin Hood is the one to skip. It pales in comparison to Roger Langridge’s The Muppet Show Comic Book and Grace Randolph and Amy Mebberson’s Muppet Peter Pan. Both of these books are so vastly superior to this that it’s almost unfair comparing the two.
If you do want to buy it, however, buy the trade paperback containing all four issues of Muppet Robin Hood here!
Kermit the Frog as Robin Hood; Miss Piggy as Maid Marian; Gonzo the Great as Sir Guy of Gisbourne; Sam Eagle as the Sheriff of Nottingham; Fozzie Bear as Tuck, The Fool; Sweetums as Little John; Robin the Frog as Squirt; Scooter as Much the Miller’s Son; Janice as Willa Scarlet; Rowlf the Dog as Alan-a-Dale; Rizzo the Rat as Arthur a Bland; Lew Zealand as Rich the Fishmonger; The Swedish Chef as himself; Mildred Huxtetter as Maid Marian’s Lady in Waiting; Johnny Fiama as Prince John; Sal Minella as Sir Sal; Dr. Teeth, Floyd Pepper, Zoot, and Animal as The Crusades; Pepe the King Prawn as King Richard; Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker as themselves; Crazy Harry, Shakey Sanchez, George the Janitor, Black Bart, Mahna Mahna, and Bobo the Bear as archers; Clifford as the archery contest emcee; Pops as the archery contest judge; Uncle Deadly as Captain of the Guard; Behemoth and Green Frackle as Guards; Bean Bunny, Ma Bear, the Snowths, Lubbock Lou and the Jug-Huggers in cameo appearances