Current Reviews


Fantastic Four #518 [Michael L]

Posted: Friday, September 17, 2004
By: Michael Lucinski

“Fourtitude Part Two”

Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Michael Wieringo

Publisher: Marvel Comics

The Fantastic Four fight to keep Manhattan from being flung into the heart of the Sun. The aliens abducting the island are refugees from Galactus’ past rampages. Something on Manhattan is causing their invisibility defense against Galactus to fail – something in the form of Susan Richards.

Lumping this story arc into Marvel’s “Avengers: Disassembled” makes little sense considering the Avengers are not actually seen or mentioned in the issue. Perhaps the failure of any other Marvel hero to appear as their collective home levitates off the planet is the thin justification for the connection by cover logo. Thankfully, nothing in this story arc feels shoehorned in by editorial desires to snag a few extra bucks tying in to Earth’s Mightiest Marketing Stunt.

Waid strikes an excellent balance between mystery, exposition and cliffhanger with this issue. It’s refreshing to find a writer who crafts individual issues with a beginning, middle AND an end. It’s disappointing that such elementary skills are becoming more noticeable due to their increasing absence. Action nicely dovetails with characterization as Waid lets the action reveal aspects of the team’s personality. The banter between the Human Torch and the Thing is genuinely funny. Both Sue and Reed Richards use their powers creatively, further demonstrating Waid’s fundamental grasp of the characters.

The lack of expositionary dialogue about Galactus actually helps the issue. Waid is confident enough that Marvel readers know who he his and the danger he represents. Zius and his refugee alliance nicely avoid the oft used “aliens conquer the world” story. Their motivation is pure if bloody, though it’s not adequately explained how Galactus doesn’t notice that more and more galaxies are apparently devoid of worlds. Nor is it clear how Sue Richards’ powers cause the device to malfunction. It’s likely this will be explained next issue.

As always, Wieringo steps to the plate, providing the appropriate visuals that balance the issue. The Fantastic Four look like the Fantastic Four, not three white people and one orange rock in blue jumpsuits. In addition to properly portraying their powers, Wieringo makes it easy for readers to enjoy the issue. Never underestimate the power of proper panel layout.

Final Word:
Rapid action and a traditional comic book cliffhanger make this issue another example of the fine work of Messrs. Waid and Wieringo with Marvel’s First Family.

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