NEWS UPDATE - OCTOBER 19, 2009
Sesame Street's Sonia Manzanno (Maria), Elmo, and Cookie Monster will be appearing on Food Network's "Dinner: Impossible" television show this Wednesday, October 21st at 10pm EST. According to Tough Pigs' Twitter feed, they'll be cooking foods that start with the letter B.
Archaia Comics hosted a panel at the Long Beach Comic Con discussing their future projects; including Fraggle Rock comic books. They also discuss other planned Fraggle merchandise. Comic Book Resources has the full scoop.Muppet Robin Hood #4
Comic Book Review
Ryan Dosier – The final installment of Muppet Robin Hood written by Tim Beedle and drawn by Armand Villavert, Jr. closes off the story of Robin Hood (Kermit), Maid Marian (Miss Piggy), and the Merry Men in their fight for freedom from the tyranny of Prince John (Johnny Fiama) and the Sheriff of Nottingham (Sam Eagle).
Issue #4 was released in September 2009.
Issue #4 picks up right where #3 concluded—Robin Hood, betrayed by Friar Tuck (Fozzie Bear), has been captured by the villainous Prince John and the Merry Men must devise a plan to save him.
As Prince John relishes in his victory over the thief, Robin Hood grieves in his dungeon cell. The Merry Men toss around ideas of how to free Robin from his prison but, unsurprisingly, none of them are very feasible. Friar Tuck comes up with the plan of going out to find The Two Legendary Knights of Renown, but no one will comply with him since he betrayed Robin. After having his plan declared “a fool’s errand,” Tuck, a fool himself, embarks on the journey alone.
The rest of the Merry Men finally get fed up with the omnipresent voice of the narrator and decide to travel hill and dale (no, not Alan-a-Dale) to find where this mysterious voice, which knows what is happening and what will happen, is coming from.
The Merry Men soon find the Narrator (The Muppet Newsman) and he shows off his skills in character understanding by revealing an embarrassing fact about Willa Scarlet (Janice). The Merry Men beg the Narrator to help them to save Robin, but he says he can’t—he has to follow the script. The Merry Men won’t have this, of course, so they prod the Narrator until he gives them the address to writer Tim Beedle.
The very next frame is a small post-it note from artist Armand Villavert, Jr. asking editor Aaron Sparrow, “Hey, where is the rest of the script?” The next page is a letter to the reader from The Muppet Robin Hood Editorial Team regretting to inform the reader that the writer has inexplicably gone missing. They soon replace him with another writer, whose version of the story is… interesting, to say the least.
Thankfully, Tim Beedle is found soon enough and the story resumes as before—except this time with a new ending.
We soon catch up with Tuck as he enters the hall of The Two Legendary Knights of Renown, who are revealed to be Statler and Waldorf. Fozzie attempts to persuade them to join him and the Merry Men in their fight to save Robin, but they’re reluctant and prone to heckling Tuck’s every plea. There’s a brilliantly hilarious twist that finally sways them—it’s arguably the funniest part of all four books.
The next day we join Prince John, Maid Marian, and the Sheriff at Robin Hood’s hanging. After a few difficulties with the noose and a much-needed karate-kick from Maid Marian, we find that Robin Hood was nowhere near the noose—The Swedish Chef stood in his place. Robin and the Merry Men rush to completely dismantle the hangman’s noose and completely embarrass Prince John—again.
Tuck and the Knights soon arrive and completely demolish John’s guards. Robin soon flies into combat with the Sheriff, triumphing creatively. Just as the Merry Men have Prince John and Sir Guy of Gisbourne (Gonzo) cornered, King Richard (Pepe) and the Crusades (The Electric Mayhem) arrive. Richard takes back his thrown, restores the Loxley Swamp to Robin Hood’s family, pardons the Merry Men of their crimes against the crown, and allows Robin and Marian to be wed.
In the very end, Willa Scarlet and Alan-a-Dale (Rowlf) join the Crusades in Richard’s place with Much the Miller’s Son (Scooter) as a manager, Tuck, Squirt (Robin the Frog), Rich the Fish Monger (Lew Zealand), Tuck’s Ma, and The Swedish Chef open a bakery, Guy of Gisbourne and the Sheriff of Nottingham reside in the dungeon with Arthur a Bland (Rizzo), Prince John and Sir Sal act as court jester, and Robin Hood and Maid Marian are wed and they live happily ever after.
The tone in issue #4 is surprisingly better than in the previous three issues. It feels much more Muppety in instances that call for it—such as Statler and Waldorf’s scene. Unfortunately, some of the book still feels awkward at times, but for the most part the tone is much, much better.
The writing has also slightly improved in this issue. I still have my gripes with the way Pepe, Scooter, Sam, and Gonzo are written, but many of the characters are written well in this issue. Fozzie is good, for the most part, Janice is stellar, Rowlf is also good. The stand-out characters here, though, are Statler and Waldorf. Their “voices” are really there and they act very much like themselves. I also really like how Johnny Fiama is written throughout this issue. He seems more like himself than previously.
I know I seem relentless in my bashing of the artwork of Armand Villavert, Jr., but… it’s just not good. You all already know my annoyances with most of the characters, and they remain throughout this issue. I grew to like how his Statler and Waldorf were drawn, and his Muppet Newsman is great, but beyond that the art is passable at most—just as it has been throughout the series.
In the end, this stands out as the best issue of the Muppet Robin Hood series, but unfortunately that wasn’t hard to do. I consider this an early speed-bump in the Fuzzy Muppet Renaissance—one that we can easily forget. While I do want to support the Muppets in all of their ventures, if another comic book features art by Armand Villavert, Jr. I will have to think very critically before I buy it.
Buy your copy of the Muppet Robin Hood trade paperback containing all four issues before the Merry Men get to it!
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; The Muppet Newsman as the Narrator; Statler and Waldorf as The Two Legendary Knights of Renown; Uncle Deadly as Captain of the Guard; Behemoth and Green Frackle as Guards; Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker as Themselves; Ma Bear as herself; Beauregard, Annie Sue Pig, Fleet Scribbler, Andy and Randy Pig in cameo appearances.