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Ultimate Fantastic Four #9

Posted: Monday, August 9, 2004
By: Dave Wallace



ďDoom: Part 3Ē

Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Stuart Immonen (p), Wade von Grawbadger (i)

Publisher: Marvel

For the third installment of the ďDoomĒ storyline, itís a shame to see both the writing and artwork take something of a breather and provide the reader with a far more straightforward episode than previous issues might have led us to believe. Whereas before, Ellis had treated us to some fun talk between the FF team members and an interesting indication of Ultimate Dr. Doomís origins, this issue is pretty much all-out action as our heroes take on a swarm of Doomís mechanized insects inside the Baxter Building.

To his credit, Warren Ellis manages to get much more character development into this issue than Bendis achieved in his arc: Itís a pleasure to see the team discovering their powers and becoming more like the FF we know and love. The Thing/Human Torch relationship is note-perfect, and itís nice to see Sue Storm getting a fair share of the action (with her increasing transparency at times of stress a nice visual cue to her characterís feelings). However, itís a bit of a one-note issue as Ben smashes, Johnny flames, and Sue traps the little bugs in forcefields. Reed is sadly absent for most of the fighting, having not really worked out how to use his stretchiness in a conflict, but proves his intellect by the issueís end as we get a setup for the team bringing the fight to Doom in forthcoming issues. But thereís the trouble Ė this arc is feeling increasingly more like a huge amount of setup for the inevitable first Doom conflict, and whilst this was bearable in the first two issues, itís getting harder to stomach as the arc progresses. Letís just hope the eventual payoff is worth it.

Thereís also a letdown this time round from Stuart Immonenís artwork. Seeming a little more rushed than before, the backgrounds are frequently flat and textureless and the characters fairly simply drawn (with Reed frequently appearing troll-like or malformed - and not in a stretchy way, either). Itís a shame, especially as the same artist has provided some great moody, textured moments in the last couple of issues: perhaps thereís a thicker style of inking this time round, or perhaps itís the flatter, brighter colours that illustrate a more dynamic issue this month which are responsible for the slight change. Either way, it seems like a step backwards. To be honest, Iím not convinced that Immonenís cartoonish style is a perfect match for Ellisí more complicated writing.

All in all, this is not a bad issue of UFF: just one that doesnít match the heights of Ellisí last two efforts. If this is just a blip on the road to a great Doom finale, itís forgivable - but with the title character of the arc nowhere to be seen this issue, some fans may come away feeling a little less than satisfied.



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