"The Stuff of Nightmares, Part Three"
Writer: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Artists: Jim Muniz (p), Scott Hanna (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
As the Fantastic Four venture into the Baxter Building on the trail of the Psycho-Man, we see the villain is able to separate the four, and soon Reed, Johnny and Ben are caught up in their own personal nightmares. However, when Sue is confronted by the Psycho-Man the villain discovers that not everything is as it appeared. In the end this little trick is enough to defeat the villain, and the Fantastic Four are able to free the city from the Psycho-Man's control.
The clever twist that is revealed to have set up to fool Psycho-Man is a fun little plot development, and if one ignores the fact that they could've achieved the exact same result by sending Sue in alone, than it's far easier to enjoy the ruse. Plus, it was fun to go back and look at the various clues that were made in the opening half of the issue, as Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa does a pretty effective job of offering up some pretty hard to miss signs that one utterly fails to notice until you know the full truth, and than one is left to openly wonder how you could've missed out on Ben's overly protective treatment of Sue, or Sue's unusually passive behaviour. Still it's a clever bit of writing, but in the end it does feel a bit like the writing offering up a plot twist simply because it could. I also have to say I wasn't overly impressed by the nightmares that Johnny and Ben encounter, as while Johnny's does look at an unexplored section of the character's life, it never quite made a convincing case for why this would be haunting Johnny. As for Ben's nightmare, I have to say I didn't quite understand why this was supposed to be terrifying, as are we suppose to buy into the idea that Ben is scared of being normal. However, the issue does earn a big thumbs up for its final conversation between Reed and Sue, as the writing deftly wraps up the whole Fantastic Four as poverty cases plot thread with a fairly solid explanation.
Jim Muniz has a rather loose style that I can't say I'm overly impressed with, but I will give him credit for a couple powerful big impact moments, from the initial attack on Reed from the exoskeleton, to our first look at the drained Psycho-Man. Also once the surprise twist is revealed it's is interesting to note that when one looks back on the art, it's quite easy to spot the visual clues that there is something not quite right about Sue's behaviour, and the way the others are treating her. However, the simple fact of the matter is that the art simply doesn't have the level of detail that would leave me impressed, and while it tells the material in a clear enough manner, it doesn't really jump off the page. However, I will give the art full marks for it's work on the final sequence, as it nicely captures the emotions of Reed and Sue.
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