Writer: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Artist: Valentine De Landro
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Plot: The Fantastic Four (with some help from a “special” guest star) try to solve the issues with the Impossible Man raised last issue.
Comments: Remember when the Marvel Knights line was introduced? I do. It was to be a grittier, more realistic look at the darker corners of the Marvel Universe. And you had heroes like the Punisher and Daredevil at the forefront. Soon enough, you had the Hulk and Captain America becoming Marvel Knights titles (and then NOT being Marvel Knights titles), but given the nature of the Hulk and Cap facing a post-9/11 world, I could see that. Then, the FF and Spider-Man got their Marvel Knights titles. Well, that’s okay, too. Spider-Man is street level and has…you know, 500 monthly books so there should be a book that explores the darker aspects of his career. And the Fantastic Four? Sci-Fi is not all Buck Rogers, and you can definitely show some dark stories. And Marvel Knights 4 started out doing this pretty well.
So…what happened here? There were definitely times during this arc that I was convinced that I had picked up the kid friendly FF book by accident. First off, the Impossible Man?? Okay…. feel free to lambaste me for this, but not EVERY idea Lee & Kirby had was wonderful. Some of them were…well, silly. And silly does not belong in a Marvel Knights book. Sure, attempts were made to darken up this character for this story (although not quite to the level DC took Dr. Light….thank goodness), but it’s still the Impossible Man. MAYBE I wouldn’t mind this story if it was in the main FF book (oh, who am I kidding? It’s the Impossible Man! He HAD to have been a Mort of the Month in Wizard, right?) but it’s wrong for this book.
BUT…that’s not all, kids! We also get an in depth look at how editors and writers at Marvel interact and the POV of the new Marvel Writer assigned to the Fantastic Four is a lame plot device. People thought the appearance of Kirby as God in the main FF book was lame? People thought the Paul Jenkins appearance in New Avengers was trite? This blows it out of the water into ANOTHER body of water and back out of THAT water. And, yes, we are supposed to believe that Reed Richards gave the Fantasti-Car a voice activation unit, but not a voice recognition unit.
As for the climax of the story…there isn’t one. But Marvel KNOWS this. How do I know? They then write an anti-climax trying to justify/explain/rationalize that there was NO climax! Seriously…was this left on someone’s desk by accident and an intern brought it to the printing press (a la John Belushi in Continental Divide)?
I had to write this review immediately after reading the issue in the fear that I may forget any detail and be forced to re-read it. Even my love for you, gentle reader, is not so great as to justify that.
Final Note: Why did I give it one bullet if I hated it so much? Well, if Marvel doesn’t shape up on this book and I am forced to read a self-serving piece of fluff under a Marvel Knights banner, I want to keep a bullet in reserve to put myself out of the misery.
What did you think of this book?
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