"Come Out and Fight like a [Molecule] Man"
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artists: Manuel Garcia(p), Scott Koblish(i),Sotocolor's A. Crossley(c)
The Molecule Man was a Kirby/Lee villain that debuted in Fantastic Four. He received his truly awesome but often squandered power from being bathed in a particle generator and focused the power to control the composition of all matter through a wand, which also stored his mind as a contingency plan. Pick up the wand, and Molecule Man took you over.
Jeff Parker in Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four smartly updates Molecule Man. Instead of taking over innocent victims through his wand, he uses a virtual reality setup. This revamping results in a superb battle where everywhere the FF turn they face the Molecule Man and a well-reasoned conclusion that prevents the story from overstaying its welcome.
Apart from updating the villain, Parker brings the FF to the nineties with stronger characterization that still plays to their aspect as heroes. The scene in which the Molecule Man possesses the Thing forces Sue to take drastic action, and her dialogue filled with as much power as that in her force fields identifies a potent personality brimming with experience.
Parker deepens the Thing's outlook on life during his interaction with Alicia Masters, and the scenario not included in the book that's the basis of Sue's argument. He besides depth offers grandstanding humor from the Torch who proves to be quite effective in the battle. Ultimately it's Reed's intellect that saves the day, but along the way each member gets a share of the stage.
An accomplished art team--Garcia/Koblish and Sotomayor--that provides detailed backgrounds and strong anatomy lessons that eschew stiff poses and never get in the way of the fluid action, sets the stage. Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four is not to be missed, and if you ask me, it's the only Fantastic Four book anybody needs to read.
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