Archive for November, 2013

FF #1

November 30, 2013

FF 01Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
May 2011
****

Effectively #589, but the new title marks a shift to the team post-Johnny. His slot is given to Spider-Man, who fits in better here than on the Avengers—after all, he attempted to join back in ASM #1! The bigger surprise is Doc Doom, who’s been invited to the Future Foundation by goddaughter Val.

continued from The Fantastic Four #588
next issue: FF #2

also indexed for May ’11
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade: Young Avengers #1 of 1

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The Fantastic Four #588

November 29, 2013

Fantastic Four 588A-story: Jonathan Hickman // Nick Dragotta
B-story: Jonathan Hickman // Mark Brooks
April 2011
A-story: ***** // B-story: ****

Hick finally gets a partner who matches his calibre: Dragotta, who apes Kirby’s dynamic grunts but draws a Sturm-like indie line. Silence signifies mourning as Johnny Storm’s family & friends grieve. It sells the moment w/o sentiment—unlike the B-plot, where Spidey helps Franklin mourn his uncle.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #587
continued in FF #1

The Fantastic Four #587

November 28, 2013

Fantastic Four 587Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
March 2011
****

A fantastic climax caps Hickman’s first “season”! Sue stares Namor down as she’s crowned regent of Atlantis. Even better, Val leads a junior team into the Neg Zone to commit science heroics. And Johnny sacrifices himself to stop an insectoid invasion. Would be ***** but for Ept’s photorealism.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #586
next issue: The Fantastic Four #588

also indexed for Mar. ’11
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #4 of 9

The Fantastic Four #586

November 27, 2013

Fantastic Four 586Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
February 2011
****

Hickman seems most compelled by Reed’s plot: rescue the Nu-Earth from a vengeful Galactus. Epting seems most into Sue’s arc: stop an Atlantean peace conference from becoming a civil war. But the real actions’ w/ Johnny, who must protect home & family (incl. de-powered Ben) from an alien invasion!

last issue: The Fantastic Four #585
next issue: The Fantastic Four #587

The Fantastic Four #585

November 26, 2013

Fantastic Four 585Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
January 2011
****

Hickman has divided the Four while accelerating his story’s pace. He’s got plenty of plots in play, from the Negative Zone death-cult to an Atlantean war of succession to a deep-space excursion w/ Galactus. That last plot brushes w/ Kirby-like grandeur, tho Epting’s prosaic style doesn’t match.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #584
next issue: The Fantastic Four #586

also indexed for Jan. ’11
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #3 of 9

The Fantastic Four #584

November 25, 2013

Fantastic Four 584Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
December 2010
****

For over a year, Hickman has been writing one- & two-issue arcs, which makes this multi-plot storyline all the more portentous. Reed parleys w/ Galactus while Sue escorts Namor to Old Atlantis. But the soul is Ben, who swigs his cure & clobbers the gentrified Yancy Gang, now hedge-fund financiers!

last issue: The Fantastic Four #583
next issue: The Fantastic Four #585

The Fantastic Four #583

November 24, 2013

Fantastic Four 583Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
November 2010
*****

When Val lets a quartet of alt-dimension Mr Fs loose on Earth, she asks for help from their worst enemy: Uncle Doom! Brilliant recasting of the hyper-intelligent toddler as equivocal, a potential bad seed. Epting’s coarse realism, tho’ v.g., isn’t the best fit for Hickman’s non-linear imagination.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #582
next issue: The Fantastic Four #584

also indexed for Nov. ’10
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #2 of 9

The Fantastic Four #582

November 23, 2013

Fantastic Four 582Jonathan Hickman // Neil Edwards
October 2010
****

Heavy-breathing fans will enjoy the rare spate of violence that leads off #582. Reed’s dad can’t kill his evil double, so he has young Doom it! But the second half shows why Hickman’s run is A-1. Part of a father-son tale, adult Franklin rescues granddad by kicking him into a wave of spacetime.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #581
next issue: The Fantastic Four #583

The Fantastic Four #581

November 22, 2013

Fantastic Four 581Jonathan Hickman // Neil Edwards
Sepember 2010

Another audacious issue from Hickman, who shifts focus to the adult Franklin. He’s part of a family time-team, staging a multiplex plan. Step 2 has Grampa Nathaniel draft college-era Mr F, Thing & Doom (!) to fight double in a deathmatch, a dangling plot from SHIELD, Hick’s occult oddity.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #580
next issue: The Fantastic Four #582

also indexed for Sept. ’10
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #1 of 9

The Fantastic Four #580

November 21, 2013

Fantastic Four 580Jonathan Hickman // Neil Edwards
August 2010
***

While his father teaches the super-kids, Franklin foils a toy store team-up of that Silver Age imp & Arcade, the villain whose deathtraps always fail. Meanwhile, the nerds brew a serum that’ll turn Grimm human for a week. Hickman writes FF like it’s contempo TV, curving char & plot arcs every ish.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #579
next issue: The Fantastic Four #581

The Fantastic Four #579

November 20, 2013

Fantastic Four 579Jonathan Hickman // Neil Edwards
July 2010
****

Speaking at a conference, Reed trumpets a techno-futuristic optimism that’s worth serious consideration. Pinning the blame for neo-luddism on age & fear, he founds a school for super-geniuses, mole-kids, & Atlantean water-babies. The high-minded theme trumps all considerations of Edwards’ choppy art.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #578
next issue: The Fantastic Four #580

The Fantastic Four #578

November 19, 2013

Fantastic Four 578Jonathan Hickman // Dale Eaglesham
June 2010
****

The hot girl Johnny met at a nihilistic club bursts open w/ bugs & scurries into the Negative Zone! Then the New Inhumans send warriors into that dimension’s new city, igniting the war prophesied by future Franklin! Meaty plot, but the gravy is the slump in Storm’s shoulders as Reed chews him out.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #577
next issue: The Fantastic Four #579

also indexed for Jun. ’10

The Fantastic Four #577

November 18, 2013

Fantastic Four 577Jonathan Hickman // Dale Eaglesham
May 2010
****

An easy test of any FF penciler is his Mr. F; Eaglesham has Reed stretch & arc even when relaxing—good! Hickman, meanwhile, adds another fantastic concept to his run: a new city of Inhumans, engineered from other alien races, awaiting their king’s return to prepare an invasion of Earth.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #576
next issue: The Fantastic Four #578

also indexed for May ’10

The Fantastic Four #576

November 17, 2013

Fantastic Four 576Jonathan Hickman // Dale Eaglesham
April 2010
****

As head of the FF’s foundation, Sue leads the team into a pocket sea btw magma boil & polar freeze. So she’s appointed diplomat to a new Atlantean court, ending its 500K-year isolation! A perfect role for her. Half of #576 is silent, giving Eaglesham a solo: an undersea battle w/ science-terrorists.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #575
next issue: The Fantastic Four #577

also indexed for Apr. ’10

The Fantastic Four #575

November 16, 2013

Fantastic Four 575Jonathan Hickman // Dale Eaglesham
March 2010
***

Led by the Mole Man, the quartet journeys to the center of the Earth to explore a lost “Forever City” before it rises to the surface! The Thing risks devolution to rescue mole-kids. Hick waters the team’s Vernean roots in exploration & also nails the sentiment under Grimm’s monstrous self-hatred.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #574
next issue: The Fantastic Four #576

also indexed for Mar. ’10

The Fantastic Four #574

November 15, 2013

Fantastic Four 574Jonathan Hickman // Neil Edwards
February 2010
***

Hickman, after a few prior glances, now focuses on the Richards kids. On Franklin’s fifth b’day, an adult self zaps in to offer Val prophetic warnings (a War btw Four Cities, trust Doom) & to restore his child-self’s mutant power. Four stars, if the pseudo-cinematic art weren’t so pedestrian!

last issue: The Fantastic Four #573
next issue: The Fantastic Four #575

also indexed for Feb. ’10

The Fantastic Four #573

November 14, 2013

Fantastic Four 573Jonathan Hickman // Neil Edwards
January 2010
**

Hickman picks up one of Millar’s plots—a prefab Earth-2 inhabited by superheroes from the future—in a one-off of remarkably dense storytelling. It’s similar to Grant Morrison’s style: lots of gee-whiz ideas & hyper-compression. But Edwards, in from the bullpen, has no aptitude for compressed comics.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #572
next issue: The Fantastic Four #574

The Fantastic Four #572

November 13, 2013

Fantastic Four 572Jonathan Hickman // Dale Eaglesham
December 2009
****

To cap the debut 3-part arc & make up for last issue’s quiet, #572 stages a phenomenal battle. A corps of Kirby Gods attack the extradimensional forum & kill several Mr Fantastics! Hickman also has a lovely character moment, as Reed returns to Sue rather than abandon his family the way his pop did.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #571
next issue: The Fantastic Four #573

The Fantastic Four #571

November 12, 2013

Fantastic Four 572Jonathan Hickman // Dale Eaglesham
November 2009
***

Mr Fantastic of the main Marvel U gets a grand tour of the utopian works performed by the multiversal Council of Reeds: granary planets, battles w/ Galacti, and (a red flag) lobotomizing each ‘verse’s Dr. Doom. The SF narrative has a thrilling audacity, but it keeps one eye on his marriage.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #570
next issue: The Fantastic Four #572

also indexed for Nov. ’09
Dark Reign: The List – The Avengers #1 of 1

The Fantastic Four #570

November 11, 2013

Fantastic Four 570Jonathan Hickman // Dale Eaglesham
October 2009
****

Richards’ heroic humanism has caused worry lines since he realized (in a spin-off mini) that he must repair the world alone. But in a juicy plot development, he’s invited to join a Council of Mr Fs who use their Infinity Gauntlets to protect the multiverse! Hickman’s debut shows great confidence.

continued from Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #5 of 5
last issue: The Fantastic Four #569
next issue: The Fantastic Four #571

Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #5 of 5

November 10, 2013

Fantastic Four - Dark Reign 5Jonathan Hickman // Sean Chen
September 2009
***

Franklin, in cowboy duds, fires a real bullet from a toy gun—implying the boy has reality-altering superpowers once again. In an artful anticlimax, Mr F contacts a multiversal shadow council. This mini, itself kind of inessential, promises Hickman’s FF run will balance imagination & humanity.

last issue: Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #4 of 5
continued in The Fantastic Four #570

Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #4 of 5

November 9, 2013

Fantastic Four - Dark Reign 4Jonathan Hickman // Sean Chen
August 2009
****

Hickman reveals his low opinion of Dark Reign by pitting evil G-man Norman Osborn, the metaseries’ villain, against the FF’s kids! Hero Richards, meanwhile, nobly resolves to save the world after cruising the multiverse via his Kirbytech stargate, trailing funny iterations of his team in his wake.

last issue: Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #3 of 5
next issue: Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #5 of 5

Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #3 of 5

November 8, 2013

Fantastic Four - Dark Reign 3Jonathan Hickman // Sean Chen
July 2009
***

A reiteration of last issue, as Reed uses his What-If Machine to deduce why Earth Marvel is so messed up. Hickman aims to dig his protag out from the violations done to his character. But he also supplies comics action, as Pirate Johnny, Cowgirl Sue, & Elizabethan courtier Ben slide thru spacetime.

last issue: Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #2 of 5
next issue: Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #4 of 5

Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #2 of 5

November 7, 2013

Fantastic Four - Dark Reign 2Jonathan Hickman // Sean Chen
June 2009
***

As Reed runs variant simulations on Marvel’s recent events, his teammates are stuck in whimsical, ahistorical setpieces. It sounds like the Star Trek trope about holodeck malfunction, but it’s actually quite fun. Metatextually, he’s critiquing the shoddy storytelling of Civil War et al.

last issue: Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #1 of 5
next issue: Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #3 of 5

Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #1 of 5

November 6, 2013

Fantastic Four - Dark Reign 1Jonathan Hickman // Sean Chen
May 2009
***

One of the FF‘s strongest runs starts, unexpectedly, in the disposable venue of event spin-off. Hickman sidesteps action for Mr. F’s new invention: a dimensional scanner/gateway, which (due to a federal raid by Dark Reign, AKA Marvel’s new status quo) shunts his team onto a dino/caveman Earth!

next issue: Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #2 of 5

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #9 of 9

November 5, 2013

Avengers Children's Crusade 9Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
May 2011
****

A:TCC‘s strongest issue, prob’ly cuz it plays to Heinb’s strengths: character & dialog, and his core team of Young Avs. Some closure as Iron Lad, by killing Vision 2.0, accepts his destiny as Kang the Conqueror. The catastrophe gets treated w/ emotional weight, as the team drifts apart over months.

last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #8 of 9

also indexed for May ’11
The Fantastic Four #604
FF #16

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #8 of 9

November 4, 2013

Avengers Children's Crusade 8Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
March 2012
****

There’s no good way to retcon a bad story, so A:TCC provides multiple ones for Wanda M’s haywire episodes, incl. the possibility that Doom was behind it all. Now he’s got cosmic powers, unluckily for Cassie Lang. The storytellers play fairly, trading her life for her father’s resurrection.

last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #7 of 9
next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #9 of 9

also indexed for Mar. ’12
The Fantastic Four #601
FF #13

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #7 of 9

November 3, 2013

Avengers Children's Crusade 7Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
November 2011
***

With 4 superteams in this ish, it’s no surprise that characters get lost in the melée. The mag’s real point is a retcon of Av Disassembled & reversal of House of M. Offpage, the Scarlet Witch had allied with Dr. Doom to tap into a “life-force” that gave her reality-altering powers.

last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #6 of 9
next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #8 of 9

also indexed for Nov. ’11
FF #9

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #6 of 9

November 2, 2013

Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
Avengers Children's Crusade 6August 2011
****

The Scarlet Witch confirms that, yes, she is Wiccan’s mother, metaphysically at least. It’s earnest comic sturm und drang that makes A:TCC the best “essential” Marvel U. tale of the terrible Bendis Era. To underscore this mini’s central status, X-teams (incl. David’s X-Fac) make strong cameos.

last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #5 of 9
next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #7 of 9

also indexed for Aug. ’11
FF #5

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #5 of 9

November 1, 2013

Avengers Children's Crusade 5Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
June 2011
****

Kid Kang, AKA Iron Lad, returns from the future; if Young Avs had been Heinberg & Cheung all along, this would be a thrilling development. Anyway, his time travel allows for this maxiseries remit: to “correct” the catastrophic plot of Disassembled, such as a broken Scarlet Witch & dead Scott Lang.

continued from Avengers: The Children’s Crusade: Young Avengers #1 of 1
last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #4 of 9
next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #6 of 9

also indexed for Jun. ’11
FF #2