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Ultimate Fantastic Four #46

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2007
By: Jon Judy



“Silver Surfer” (part 4)

Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Pasqual Ferry

Publisher: Marvel Comics


The mediocrity established in the first four issues of this arc is maintained in the conclusion, making for a…

I don’t know. How do you get excited enough over mediocrity to review it? You know, nobody told me there’d be days like this when I signed on for this gig. This issue just inspired an amazing depth of apathy in me. OK, I’m going to suck it up and give it the college try, but I don’t know how to do this one without spoilers, so, you know, you’ve been warned.

OK, last issue the Surfer freed Reed from his Psycho-Man induced delusions, and this time they set off with the rest of the FF to stop the Psycho-Man’s mind control thingie, or whatever. All this comes to… I guess you’d call it a climax… where they face the Psycho himself. Turns out there is no thingie, he is just powerful enough to control the minds of the six billion people he teleported to his planet from Earth. He’s certain Reed is being a self-righteous prat in judging these actions, so to prove a point he hands his powers over to Reed. Naturally having access to every mind overwhelms Reed and he can’t handle the strain, but then his friends step in to share the burden. Isn’t it convenient that Psycho-Man’s power transferals have a play-online-with-your-friends option? And it turns out just a couple of extra minds is all it takes to handle that kind of power. Just one mind? You’re screwed. A couple more? Golden.

Anywho, they beat Psycho-Man, turn him into a docile manchild, transport everyone back to Earth and erase their memories. Roll credits. For the love of God, please roll credits.

Okay, let’s go to the tape and John Madden this thing.

First, there are some minor flaws in this issue. For example, witness page eight, where the Torch does battle with, I don’t know, some metal dude, and then gets covered in metal himself, or maybe he is wrapped up within the metal dude himself and then attacked by another metal dude or – man, I don’t know what’s happening on this page.

Then there is the simply way-too-pat resolution, in which, off panel, mind you, Reed uses the powers foolishly bequeathed to him by the Psycho-Man to teleport the entire population of Earth back home, and then modifies their memories – six billion memories.

That sounds like an impressive task to me, and one that merits a little more story time than “Hey, remember just a little bit ago when we teleported everyone back home and erased their memories?”

In fact, if the Psycho-Man is capable of teleporting and tele-controlling six billion people, why wouldn’t he have been aware enough of the limitations of that power to know that handing it over to Reed was a bad idea, that Reed would, with the help of his friends, be able to handle it?

And what happened to those powers, anyway? Psycho-Man gave them to Reed, the FF used them to save the day and monkey with billions of minds and then… what? They gave them back? Gave them up? If Reed and company had telepathic powers that would made Charles Xavier look like Charlie Brown, why wouldn’t they hold on to them? Or were they conveniently only able to control those powers for only as long as it took to restore Earth’s population to almost-as-good-as-new?

It puts me in mind of one of the worst – nay, the worst – FF resolutions I ever read, the ending to the Ultimate Namor storyline. This arc doesn’t end quite so badly, but it’s up – or down – there. In the Namor storyline, if you didn’t read it or you blocked it out, the day was saved by a Reed ex machina when Reed revealed he had invented a robot suit with all of the FF’s powers.

Huh wha - ?

Why, if Reed had invented a robot with all of the powers of the FF, wouldn’t they use it every time they get in a jam? Why wouldn’t he invent an army of them? Why did he wait until they were getting their asses handed to them before resorting to it? Why did they always wait until they were getting their asses handed to them before they formed Voltron?

And in this current arc, why would Reed and his pals give up Psycho-Man’s power? Or will they conveniently be able to recall that power and use it the next time they’re getting their asses handed to them?

And why did I pay $15 for this story arc?

The answers to all these questions are blowing in the wind, which is just what this issue does: It blows.



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