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Ultimate Fantastic Four #12

Posted: Monday, November 8, 2004
By: Dave Wallace



ďDoom: Part 6Ē

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

Publisher: Marvel

Having waited 5 issues (if not 11) for the first big confrontation between the FF and the Ultimate incarnation of Doctor Doom, we finally get some real action this issue. Brought down by a bazooka and with three of the four taken out by some of Von Doomís weirder powers last issue, a battle of wills between last-men-standing Reed and Victor ensues. Whilst Iím still not keen on the regal tyrant that is the regular MU Dr. Doom being watered down to a crazed zealot whoís worked out a way to mind-control a bunch of drop-out squatters, there is a dark, more extreme character shown this issue which didnít quite feel apparent in the last few issues, and the fight between him and the heroes feels more intense as a result. Stuart Immonenís artwork is still big on chunky design work and clear lines, but, as with the writing, thereís a darkness here that wasnít there before. I like it, and it works especially well for such larger-than-life characters. Itíll be interesting to see how the returning Adam Kubert fares under Warren Ellisí direction next issue.

An interesting and compelling modification to the FF story is Doomís knowledge (and withholding) of information which could help the FF revert to their original selves. As such, Reedís opening attacks on Victor are pretty vicious, and give him an edge that helps to sell his anger and sense of betrayal by Victor pretty well. His stretchy powers provide an element of surprise which justifies his upper hand over the gnarly-looking Doom, and by the time the rest of the FF gets involved - using their powers in a far more cohesive and imaginative way than before Ė the fight seems almost over. However, Doomís ace-up-his-sleeve in the form of his mindwashed hordes threatens to turn the tables, and even if we know are heroes are going to come out on top in the end, the sense of jeopardy is quite real, underlined by the physical toll of the battle on Sue. Itís quite an exciting end to an otherwise sluggish arc, but with a few pages of the issue to go you have to credit to Warren Ellis then for making the fallout from the battle as interesting as the fisticuffs themselves. The final conundrum of the US soliders not only serves to make an interesting point about world politics today, but also gives an interesting spin to Doom which may suggest that editors are building towards a monarch/dictator status for the character which is more in line with regular MU Dr. Doom after all.

All in all, this is the best issue of Ellisí run so far, but itís still not quite enough to convince me that the series really has legs. Iím sure itíll keep running as a cornerstone of Marvelís Ultimate line, but Iím really not sure thereís enough there to interest me. Maybe itís the simplicity of the characters, or the sheer fantastical nature of their adventures, but Iím beginning to think the Fantastic Four just isnít for me. However, thereís a lot here for superhero comics fans to enjoy Ė especially younger readers - and I can recognize that itís perhaps a good quality book which just isnít to my tastes.



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