"The Date the Earth Stood Still"
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artists: Clay Mann(p), Terry Pallot(i), Lee Louridge(c)
The Skrulls are up to their old tricks again. Armed with poor intelligence, the aliens make their way to the heart of Manhattan to destroy the FF. Meanwhile, Sue and Reed go on a date; they have yet to marry in the Marvel Adventureverse. Johnny and Ben have a horror festival at home in the Baxter Building, and a group of fantasy cosplayers go on a quest.
Well, if this is an example of Van Lente's best, I'm going to enjoy his Marvel Adventures Iron Man. Eschewing the sturm and drag of the Marvel Universe proper, the author crafts a tale that affirms the love between Reed and Sue. At the same time, he treats the Skrulls with outrageous disrespect to provide chuckles for the reader.
The Marvel Adventureverse appears to appreciate intelligence. At first it seems that the Skrulls' hamstrung attempts to kill the FF are due to their own ineptness. This is fun but not entirely satisfying. The heroes wouldn't be quite so impressive if all they faced were easily beatable idiots. The author seems to grasp this double-edged sword quite well.
The commander states: "...Isn't it obvious by now that the Minister of Imperial Intelligence is a total moron?"
In a way this is true. We can tell by how Skrulls attempt to blend in with the earth's culture exemplify the absurd. They adapt, however badly, to compensate for these initial failings, and their botchery we discover isn't a result of innate stupidity or the practiced cretinism of the minister.
The cosplayers add to the story. They take responsibility when faced with a dilemma and do the right thing. Rather than make fun of their behavior, Van Lente characterizes them, as good, imaginative kids who should be enabled not belittled.
This thoroughly enjoyable issue of Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four is well illustrated by Mann and Pallot. Though their angular cartoony style may put some off. The colors by Lee Louridge reflect different casts and shades of light, but the technique often makes the cast look unnatural.
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