Writers: Mark Waid and Karl Kesel
Artists: Paco Medina and Juan Vlasco
Publisher: Marvel Comics
In addition to being a fairly entertaining little tussle between the Fantastic Four and their evil rivals, the Frightful Four, this issue offers up a pretty solid character study of the Wizard, a character who in the past has been little better than yet another evil genius that populates the Marvel Universe. However, this issue manages to spend quite a bit of energy building up the character into something more, as there's a great little sequence where the Wizard shares a bit of family time with his daughter and her mother, where we learn the true extent of how evil the Wizard can be. In fact if there is one moment that should be essential reading for any writer looking to use the Wizard in a future story it's the tail end of this sequence where we learn what his daughter means to him.
There's also a great display of duplicity where we see the Trapster learns that he's been played for the fool, and I must confess I was physically stunned by the final moments of this encounter, as it's a wonderfully shocking moment of villainy. I also enjoyed the scene where Reed takes a moment to spell out what he believes the Wizard's continued motive for attacking them, as it's clear that Mark Waid and Karl Kesel are quite familiar with the Wizard's past dealings with the team. There's also a great moment where the Wizard takes centre stage to address the viewers at home, as it makes for a nice little rubbing salt in the wound moment. The battle itself was also a lot of fun, as there's a solid collection of little moments that manage display a sense of imagination, as the ways that the Frightful Four achieve their victory are pretty clever.
Paco Medina is a solid artist with a style that is a pretty close match to Mike Wieringo, so his guest-stint on this arc isn't overly disruptive. He's brings a sense of style to the action sequnces, as they are pretty easy to follow, and the big impact moments, like the Wizard's attack on the Trapster, are exceptionally well done. In fact my only quibble with the art is that he forgot to include Johnny's four when he's flamed on, which made the character look a bit off. Still, I have to say Gene Ha delivers a fantastic looking cover, as his Thing looks amazing.
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