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Fantastic Four #578

Posted: Friday, April 30, 2010
By: Shawn Hill

Jonathan Hickman
Dale Eaglesham
Marvel Comics
“The Cult of the Negative Zone”

Plot: I can’t really tell you. The Annihilation Wave has finally hit the Negative Zone, I guess? Let’s go with that.

Comments: This disjointed tour of the major touchstones of FF lore continues, finally getting around to Annihilus, only of him there ain’t so much this issue. Instead, another one of Johnny’s many foolish dates goes horribly awry, with someone he meets at a bar called “The Other Side of Zero.” When he gets her back to the Baxter building, she immediately runs to the Negative Zone portal and starts bleeding out of her eyes.

Neither Herbie the Robot nor Johnny can prevent her from unleashing bomb-laden bugs from her body, and then it’s a rescue mission for Blastaar, who has taken over the prison Reed built during Civil War (a concept that was never fully exploited if you ask me). But we don’t see him either, just his minions, who got blowed up real good. Isn’t that what they do, anyway? Blastaar? Anyone?

They blow up something that the Blast-minions were working on, but we don’t find out what it is, and of course Johnny has no idea. Back at home, with his tail between his legs, he pleads to Valeria to explain it all, but she’s keeping mum (probably judging him unworthy of full disclosure, which would just give him a headache).

Meanwhile, in Antarctica I guess (“south of the Baxter Building”) Sue and some blue warrior from Attuma’s line visit some fish-faced dude in order to insult him, on Namor’s behalf, whom we also don’t see. Then they, apparently, build a Fortress of Solitude for some reason. Sue doesn’t speak.

“Later” (the transitions are really not helping this month), Reed finds Johnny to yell at him for leaving the Negative Zone door open, which we saw him very clearly not do already (unless Herbie didn’t follow orders? Is he plotting against Johnny? A sea anemone could probably outwit Johnny at this point!).

Then Reed gets all enigmatic about how they’re all going through changes for unnamed reasons and Johnny will, too, soon, even though he looks just the same. Which makes me think of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, thanks for the comfort, Reed!

“And in the Blue Area of the Moon” a force of six representatives of humanoid races (who all I think worship Blackbolt now) lunge into the middle of the Negative Zone battle. Because they wantm “a battle that we cannot win?” Good idea, horse-faces and Badoons!

Is that clear as mud? I’m totally lost, only grateful that Eaglesham makes it all look so pretty. Seriously, the art is the least of this book’s problems. In striving for sci-fi immersion, Hickman has achieved incomprehensibility. I won’t even ask where Ben is.



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