Scripters: Tom DeFalco & Ron Frenz
Artists: Ron Lim (p), Scott Koblish (i), Avalon's Rob Ro (colors)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Tom DeFalco has been given a rare opportunity. He has been given the chance to preserve his continuity and advance it through the MC2 Universe, largely because nobody among the Powers That Be cares about this little pocket dimension. The super-heroes grew old here, died on occasion but left behind a legacy. MC2 isn't quite as cool as pre-Crisis Earth-Two, but it makes a damn good effort to be Earth-Two's equal.
Nothing better signifies the DeFalco continuity better than The Fantastic Five. In the DeFalco run of The Fantastic Four, the Alicia Masters who fell in love and married the Human Torch turned out to be a Skrull. Undisturbed by the goals of other writers and editors, this benevolent Skrull would have continued to be the Torch's wife. So it is in The Fantastic Five. Lyja and Johnny are still together, and they have a son.
Likewise, DeFalco introduced Sharon Ventura--the second Ms. Marvel--in his run of the FF, and she fell for the now-available Thing. Undisturbed, they would have married, but as we learn in The Fantastic Five things don't always work out. Pun intended.
These continuity extrapolations represent the best in the first issue of The Fantastic Five: the Torch and Lyja relationship, the return of Sharon Ventura and both the Torch's and the Thing's legacy being trained by Psi-Lord also known as Franklin Richards. The surprise guest star is a kick to see--especially with the beard, as he alludes to a certain mirror universe, which was the most likely influence on all parallel universes presented throughout pop culture.
Ron Lim has matured into an excellent artist. His ability to capture anatomy and expression has improved remarkably since his neophyte days, and that's exactly what you would expect from somebody who keeps honing their craft. Inker Scott Koblish and colorist Rob Ro clearly deserve some of the credit, and all three create an impressive synergy of super-hero art.
The Fantastic Five flounders where subplots are concerned. The strife between the old guard--Reed and Sue--and the new guard--Johnny and Lyja--is cliché and conducive to eye-rolling. The concept of Ben Grimm's quest for humanity makes an unwelcome return. Enough. That's been settled.
The main plot is a pretty peppy attack from Dr. Doom, but Doom's plan is a repeat. That doesn't seem to fit Doom's creative genius and a determination for original and spectacular schemes to end the lives of the Fantastic Four, or in this case the Fantastic Five.
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