Muppet Comic Mondays: The Muppet Show Comic Book #4 – Family Reunion

The Muppet Show Comic Book #4:
Family Reunion
Comic Book Review 

James Gannon – I could beat around the bush here with “Spoiler Alerts” and all that… but who am I kidding? I know it, you know it. This is the issue that brings Adult Skeeter into the Muppet Theater. As far as fan fiction is concerned, it’s like Disney officially publishing a comic where Gadget chooses one of the Rescue Rangers as her soul mate. Sad that’s the only G-rated Fan Fic reference I can make.
Before we can fully grasp what this means, we have to revisit who Skeeter was. She was a character developed for Muppet Babies to flesh out the female quotient in a very male heavy cartoon (even though she was voiced both times by male voice actors). While they could have easily added Janice or at least Annie Sue, the old TV Trope won out and they needed an athletic character. And if anyone knows 1980’s “gang of kids” cartoons as well as I do, they’re required by law to have and athletic character and a nerd (Scooter, who gained a twin that contrasted his personality). So, they rewrote history and anachronistically added a character who was never seen outside the cartoon (or Muppet Kids books), and never adopted into any other medium. You know, for the longest time I thought Skeeter changed her name to Janice for professional reasons, but now I’m almost entirely convinced she somehow turned into a Fraggle and changed her name to Red.
Now, there are some odd conditions of her appearance. For one, she isn’t mentioned by name  for some reason (like it’s gonna fool anyone), and the Statler and Waldorf Greek Fates that appear in the beginning hint that this really isn’t happening. That’s the only thing here that bugs me, since I don’t see how Skeeter is any different from Creepy McBoo or Ninja Rogers as far as the comic is concerned. But it’s still her, unless there’s some unpleasant surprise in subsequent Family Reunion issues. And while we’d all like to see her Harley Quinned into some form of Muppet Media (added to the official legacy of a series after being a cult hit on a cartoon series that is), a comic book is the next best thing. Oh, and did I mention they didn’t want to reveal where she was all this time?
At any rate, Skeeter basically comes in for a job at the Muppet Theater, knowing Scooter would help usher her in. While everyone’s happy to see her after all these years (and apparently can’t remember her name), Scooter has a rush of conflicting emotions. Skeeter still views her brother as a nerd, and doesn’t let him forget it. Meanwhile, she proves that she’s better at Scooter’s job than Scooter is, effectively calming down an enraged Piggy that no one else could (“Link’s being Link,” Kermit points out). Not only do we get the opportunity to revisit with Skeeter (who retained a LOT of her Muppet Babies personality), but we get another great story that explores Scooter’s character. And after the years of Scooter-less Muppet projects, this is indeed a treat for Muppet fans.  
And of course, the same great Muppet skits, both from the show and original Roger creations, break up the action and somehow connect to the main story line. There is one great shake up. Much in the tradition of The Muppet Show, the closing number doesn’t necessarily have to be a song. While I do enjoy the poetic prose of Muppets speaking in rhyme (or singing), not having it in every issue gives it a nice randomness to the tone.
As with the other reviews, the last bit is about the technical stuff. Amy Mebberson, whose artwork I previously raved about in Muppet Peter Pan, seems to have improved (if that was even possible) in this issue.  While it still has a Disney quality to it, it seems to have a more animated movement to (especially on Link, the butt of many Piggy karate chops). She actually designed the conceptual Adult Skeeter that’s perfectly Muppety and completely believable as one of the gang. And as much as I also love Roger Langridge’s weird and wacky commix design of the characters, I feel when he’s only doing the writing, it has a lot more focus than when he does both. In fact, I’d say this is one of the best written issues yet. So fan service or boon to fan kind, this is an issue you cannot miss. And if you missed it… uh… there’s always the eventual graphic novel reprint. So there’s no excuse there.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier

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