If you hadn’t noticed before, the previous issue of this comic was actually #16. Still don’t know why they had to publish these issues out of order. I guess we’re just lucky that every other issue switches the focus from Clint Barton to Kate Bishop, so at least we didn’t any stories out of order.
Clint’s brother Barney — who’s almost as big a sad sack as his brother — is in town for a visit. They both laze around his apartment, humiliate themselves, and periodically emerge to unleash serious whupass on the Bros. Anyway, it turns out that the Bros own every building in the area — except for the one Clint owns — but the Bros and their pet clownface assassin have just learned that Clint doesn’t actually own the building — so they can charge in and assault any of the tenants, and Clint won’t call the cops on them. And things don’t end well for the good guys after that.
Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s clever, wonderfully illustrated storytelling — even if I’m starting to wish Clint wasn’t quite the complete loser he’s always depicted as in this comic. Come on, the guy’s an Avenger in good standing — he should at least be able to keep his pants up when he goes outside, right?
Fantastic Four #1
The Fantastic Four is back on Earth for the first time in months, and everyone is completely sad. Sue is writing some months in the future that everything went to hell — Reed stopped inventing things, Ben went to jail for murder, Johnny dove into drinking and partying above everything else. But in the present, the team beats up Fin Fang Foom, everyone is wearing red costumes, Sue is sad about her daughter Valeria moving to Latveria, Ben is trying to restart his relationship with Alicia Masters, Johnny has signed a dumb contract with his publicist, and some gremlins have escaped into New York.
Verdict: Thumbs down. I should’ve realized when I saw James Robinson’s name on the cover that it was going to suck. Listen, when the FF has been away from Earth for so long, galavanting around outer space and the Negative Zone and whatnot, you really want to start off your new #1 issue with some reassurance for readers that this is going to be the Fantastic Four everyone knows and loves — explorers, family, jokesters — yes, you want a little angst in there, because the FF has always done angst well. The classic Mark Waid/Mike Wieringo run on the series should kinda be your model for the first issue — reintroduce your characters, hit the high points of their relationships, give us some grand excitement, promise more for the future, even as you plan dire challenges and near-defeats by Doctor Doom.
But when you start out saying “Everything is going to be depressing and sad and horrible and wrecked, and everyone’s wearing weird red costumes for some reason,” why should anyone want to read that? Well, okay, why should anyone but James Robinson want to read that? Depressing crap seems to be the only thing Robinson’s able to write anymore. Wouldn’t be surprised if he kills off both of the kids by Issue #6.
Definitely dropping this one — and I’d really been looking forward to it, too. But just reading this one issue was a depressing chore, and I’ve got enough depressing chores in my everyday life.