Archive for Fantastic Four

Friday Night Fights: Free for All!

Well, my children, it’s the end of another thoroughly gruesome week, and one measly weekend just ain’t really gonna settle things down for us. But it’ll help. So let’s celebrate while we can with everyone’s favorite: FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Tonight’s battle comes to us from February 1983’s Marvel Two-in-One #96 by Tom DeFalco, Ron Wilson, and Mike Esposito. Ben Grimm is stuck in the hospital after a rough battle, and now a whole bunch of supervillains are on the way to finish him off.




But Marvel’s superheroes aren’t gonna let Aunt Petunia’s favorite nephew down, are they?


That’s a bunch of Marvel’s greatest superheroes beating up on the Rhino, MODOK, and a bunch of Moloids. Not a bad way to kick off the weekend, is it?

Comments (1)

Friday Night Fights: Ant Mangled!

Merry Friday, everyone — it’s been yet another thoroughly horrible week, and the only thing that will restore our souls is a quick shot of the old cartoon ultra-violence. And that means it’s time for… FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Tonight’s battle is going to be short and sweet — from March 2014’s FF #16 by Matt Fraction, Karl Kesel, Lee Allred, Mike Allred, and Laura Allred, here’s Scott Lang completely unexpectedly taking Doctor Doom to pieces.


Yeah, I said I was going to keep it short — short like Ant-Man! Oh, man, that’s hilarious. Yeah, I still got it.

Comments (3)

Friday Night Fights: Best Frenemies!

Time to get back on the Friday Night Fights train. Today’s battle comes from September 1967’s Fantastic Four #66 by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Joe Sinnott, and Artie Simek, as we’re reminded that classic Ben Grimm is just as big a jerk as classic Reed Richards.






That’ll do it for me — see y’all Monday.

Comments (3)

Puzzle Time


Hawkeye #15

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.

Comments off

This, That and the Other

I got a whole big bucket of stuff I wanna talk about today, and comics reviews ain’t even a one of ’em.



They’ve announced the cast for the rebooted Fantastic Four movie. And for the most part, my lone reaction is a colossal shrug — I’m not very good at mass-media consumption anymore, and I didn’t recognize the names of any of the actors. But what’s really got certain members of the racist douchebucket fanboy brigade up in arms is that Johnny Storm is going to be played by Michael B. Jordan, a black actor.

There are two proper reactions to this: braying mockery or really excellent commentary examining race in the comics.

Ultimately, this is about smart casting — Jordan is a well-respected actor, it gets the movie a quick pop of controversy, thanks to the never-shutting-up racist population, and it gives comic book movies the opportunity to grow out of the These-Are-Only-For-White-People niche they’ve been locked into for too long.



A bunch of bigots in the South Carolina legislature actually want to cut funds from a university for suggesting students read Alison Bechdel’s brilliant “Fun Home” graphic novel.

One of the legislators, a Republican from Greenville, SC named Garry Smith said, “One of the things I learned over the years is that if you want to make a point, you have to make it hurt.”

And one of the things I’ve learned over the years is that if you find a moralizing Republican lawmaker in South Carolina, you’re pretty damn certain to find out that he spends his free time having sex with barnyard animals. All it takes is enough patient research into Rep. Smith’s background.



I’m looking forward to the next week or so here in Denton — it’s the beginning of GeeKon, a celebration of all things geeky and awesome. It’s mostly geared toward college students, but I hope I can enjoy some of the events without anyone complaining too much about the middle-aged fat guy in the crowd.

I’ll probably end up missing out on a lot of events — some of the film screenings will be taking place during work hours, and some of the other events are really geared so strongly toward geeks in their 20s that I think I’d feel much too awkward being in the audience — but I’m really looking forward to the UNT Comics Studies Conference, which focuses on academic approaches to comics.

And finally…


Greg Abbott is a dillweed.

A racist, sexist, homophobic, cowardly dillweed.

When I take over this state, Greg Abbott is going to get escorted to the nearest state line and told to get out and not come back.

And when it comes to the nearest state line, I intend to start measuring from Galveston.

Comments off

Final Farewell to the FF


FF #16

It’s the last issue of this gloriously quirky comic book. The Future Foundation has managed to shut down all of Dr. Doom’s defenses. His robots have been destroyed, his allies are wrecked, his hostages freed, his science, sorcery, and stolen power have all been neutralized. It’s all down to Dr. Doom vs. Ant-Man. Scott Lang doesn’t stand a chance, does he? Oh, you might be surprised…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Not trying to tell a lot of the plot, to avoid spoilers, but it’s quite interestingly done, and if Marvel doesn’t end up forgetting all this, it’s going to make anyone using Pym particles a lot more powerful. But most importantly, this is a wonderful farewell to an awesome cast of characters, adults, kids, superheroes, supervillains, freaks, and weirdoes. It’s really too bad this one isn’t going to stick around — I’m going to miss Darla Deering, Bentley-23, and Tong.


Mighty Avengers #5

The Superior Spider-Man has decided he wants to take over the Mighty Avengers and run it like his own personal paramilitary force. Luke Cage and Jessica Jones aren’t having any of that, and they clean Otto’s clock — at least until his Spiderling minions shoot them with high-tech weapons. Can anyone save them from Otto’s wrath? Maybe a big green lawyer. Meanwhile, inside Attilan, time-controlling corporate supervillain Quickfire is after some mystic artifacts while Spectrum, Falcon, Ronin (actually Blade — still don’t understand the silly subterfuge), Power Man, and White Tiger try to stop her — and while a three-headed monster tries to eat all of them. Who will survive and what will be left of them?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’m enjoying the writing, the characters, and the story even while I’m still despising Greg Land’s tracing.


Pretty Deadly #4

Looks like we’re gathering our cast of characters together, slowly but surely. Johnny Coyote rescues Sissy from drowning in the river. Ginny and the Mason battle each other, but eventually come to an understanding. Death restores Alice to her form so she can go out and kill more people. And we slowly find out what this is all about.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This story gets a lot more enjoyable when you can keep track of all the characters and what they’re up to. Honestly, I don’t think this ever should’ve been released as single-issue comics — it should’ve been a complete graphic novel from the very beginning.

Comments off

So Very Many Comics…

I’m still trying to clear space for more holiday gift recommendations, so I’m gonna see if I can clear all my regular comics reviews all at once. Strap on your seat belt, kids — we’re gonna do a review marathon…


FF #15

The Future Foundation has everything planned out, and they’re ready to take down Doctor Doom. They send in a bunch of robots controlled by the kids to distract Doom and his robots and to wreck up his Latverian castle, while the grownups and their allies infiltrate and sabotage Doom behind the scenes before finally moving in for the final confrontation. But will all their preparation allow them to succeed against Doom the Annihilating Conqueror?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great action, great humor, intrigue, drama — and thanks to co-writer and scripter Lee Allred, the story is jam-packed with in-jokes geared directly to fans of the late, lamented City of Heroes, the best dang superhero MMO ever. I loved it, and I want a lot more of it, so I’m crossing my fingers that the series will continue, despite its predicted demise.


Red Sonja #6

Sonja was prepared to duel Dark Annisia to the death, but they’ve both been surprised by the re-emergence of the genocidal tyrant Bazrat, who reveals that the plague that afflicted Sonja and the kingdom wasn’t actually a plague at all — it was all poison administered secretly to the populace. Can Sonja and Annisia stop fighting long enough to stop the madman?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Excellent action, drama, and art, and a genuinely smart story, all wrapped up in a nice chainmail bow.


Itty Bitty Hellboy #5

Abe’s little sister Eve is having a birthday, and everyone is invited to the party! Hellboy, Liz, the Rogers, Baba (and her chicken-leg hut), Hecate, Lobster Johnson, Johann Kraus, and many more all show up. Presents are opened, seaweed cake is devoured, hot sauce is splashed on people, and Hellboy gets turned into a chicken. Just like every other day then, right?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Very funny, very cute — it’s too bad this is the final issue, because Art Baltazar and Franco did a great job making Hellboy and his supporting cast look so adorable.


Young Avengers #14

Evil has been vanquished, and it’s time for the after party. A wide selection of artists are on hand to help document the first half of the Young Avengers’ last big party, along with most of the other young superheroes in the Marvel Universe. Wiccan and Hulkling reconcile for good, we learn more of Miss America’s origin and about her secret connection to Wiccan, and Kate Bishop decides where she stands with Noh-Varr.

Verdict: Thumbs up. A bunch of excellently crafted stories about relationships — both romantic and familial — all backed up by a bunch of cool artists. I’m gonna miss this series, but it’s nice to see they’re going out pushing the envelope.


A Voice in the Dark #2

Zoey is worried that her urges to commit murder are going to get the better of her, so she starts up a campus talk-radio show, hoping she’ll be able to quell her homicidal desires by basking in other people’s darkness. And her very first caller is someone who’s contemplating suicide. Can Zoey keep her from killing herself? Can her uncle and his fellow police officers find the girl in time?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fantastic art and a great story that does not go where we expect it to go. Is there anything Zoey can do to keep from getting completely washed over in blood? Maybe not — and it’ll be fun seeing how it all turns out for her…


Daredevil #34

Matt Murdock wants to strike a serious blow against the racist Sons of the Serpent — and he particularly wants to take their ally, the Jester, out of circulation. He’s managed to obtain the Darkhold, an ancient mystical book that the Sons consider their Bible, and he’s also gotten hold of a device that will allow him to broadcast to every TV, radio, and web browser in New York City. He enlists the aid of Kirsten McDuffie and then makes his broadcast, warning New Yorkers about the Sons and threatening to destroy the Darkhold if they don’t turn over the Jester. Can the gamble pay off? Or will the Sons kill McDuffie as revenge?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s an excellent story, with some real shining moments for McDuffie. The action is quite nice, and as always, Javier Rodriguez’s artwork is phenomenally beautiful.


Revival #16

The authorities are now exterminating the local livestock, which has gotten a serious dose of whatever is causing the revivals, and Ramin and Sheriff Cypress are the targets of a low-level terrorist attack. Dana Cypress enlists her ex-husband Derrick and her sister Em — a secret Reviver — to help investigate whoever murdered Em. And Derrick runs into a mysteriously deformed arsonist. What the heck’s going on?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The series is definitely trending away from horror right now and back toward noir. Not a bad thing at all — great characterization and art, and I’m still loving the story.


Pretty Deadly #3

Ya know, I’m not sure I could tell you the plot in a way that’ll really make sense. But we learn more about Ginny and Fox and Death, how they got the way they are, and what may be coming up for them eventually.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I liked this issue a lot more. It made a lot more sense, I could keep track of who the characters were, and there were multiple really good, really powerful scenes. I hope they can keep the quality high on this one.

Today’s Cool Links:

Comments off

Heaven and Hell


Itty Bitty Hellboy #4

Well, Hellboy and his pals went to Hell last issue — this time, they’re going to visit Heaven! Watch them learn to fly clouds, explore different words starting with “H,” meet lovestruck aliens, and steal lemonade. Meanwhile, Hecate and Baba Yaga give the two Rogers some groovy disco pants.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Very, very cute cartooning and storytelling — and the bit with the Rogers’ pantslessness continues to be the series’ most hilarious running joke.


FF #14

Doctor Doom is plenty irritated that he can’t track the Future Foundation, and he’s taking it out on all his allies. The Foundation, meanwhile, is holed up in the Blue Area of the Moon, enlisting the aid of Sun Tzu — an immortal alien, like Julius Caesar — to plan strategy. They also go out collecting robots and time-traveling wizards. Bentley-23 tries to sneak a peek at bathing superheroines, and Dragon Man gets the blame for it. Scott Lang is concerned that he’ll enjoy killing Doom too much, and Ahura decides to embrace adulthood and fight with the FF, rather than staying safe with the other kids. But do any of them really stand a chance against Doom?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It still has plenty of room for humor and fun, but this is also a much more serious issue, very concerned with adult concerns — and the transition from childhood to adulthood — as the team prepares to go to war.


Hawkeye #14

We get another issue focusing on Kate Bishop, trying to be a low-rent, dead-broke superhero in L.A. She volunteers to help a couple preparing for their wedding — someone has stolen the orchids they’d dreamed of having at their wedding, and some wealthy scumbag named Flynt Ward is responsible. The police refuse to get involved, and Ward has too much muscle on his side. Can Kate get the goods on the villain without getting run over by a car? Probably not…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great fun, snazzy dialogue, fun art, action all over the place. I would really love to see Kate Bishop with her own ongoing series — she’s just so much fun.

Today’s Cool Links:

Comments off

Monster Mash


Daredevil #32

The Jester has lured Matt Murdock into a trap, but he’s frustrated when he doesn’t react the way he expected. The Jester assumes that Daredevil is a sighted superhero pretending to be blind, but since Matt really is blind, his radar sense can’t tell that the hanged dummy is supposed to look like Foggy Nelson, and he can smell the cyanide on the supposed suicide note. Frustrated, the Jester sends in a couple crooked cops to kill him — and of course, they get their butts whupped. Later, Matt’s research with the real Foggy reveals that the Sons of the Serpent might have had quasi-mystic origins, and that sends Daredevil on a visit to Dr. Strange.

Doc Strange tells Matt to visit a small town in Kentucky. Turns out, it’s a hotbed of activity for the Sons of the Serpent, and while trying to stop them from lynching someone, he also runs afoul of…the Legion of Monsters! Can Daredevil make friends with the Werewolf by Night, N’Kntu the Living Mummy, Satana, the Monster of Frankenstein, and the Zombie Simon Garth? Or is he about to join them in undeath?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Even aside from the great story by Mark Waid and the great art by Chris Samnee, there’s just nothing I love more than classic comic book monsters. Especially when we’re getting this close to Halloween.


FF #13

Scott Lang has saved all of the Future Foundation from the machinations of Doctor Doom, Alex Power, and Maximus the Mad by teleporting everyone to a place where Doom can’t track them. Doom is infuriated, of course, and takes his wrath out on Kid Immortus and Ravona. So where is the Future Foundation? They’re hiding in the Impossible Man’s pants. He teleports them all to the Blue Area of the Moon, where Scott gets Uatu himself (and his girlfriend Ulana) to surrender by threatening him with the Ultimate Nullifier. And then a bunch of alternate-timeline versions of Red Ghost and the Super-Apes appear — the kids make friends with all the apes by offering them bananas, and then kick the tar out of all the Red Ghosts. Well, this is all great, but how does Scott plan to stop Doctor Doom?

Verdict: Thumbs up. So many funny moments in this one — She-Hulk’s horror at discovering where they’re all hiding; Bentley-23’s realization that Uatu’s name makes its own pun; the kids’ reactions to word that Uatu has a girlfriend; Uatu needing to visit the bathroom; the entire sequence with Red Ghost; and much, much more besides. Tons of great lines and wonderful art. It’s a grand story and a great lesson on how much fun comics can be when they embrace their inherent sense of humor.


Young Avengers #11

Kid Loki discovers that Leah has allied with Mother and captured Hulkling, and Mother plans to unleash the evil alternates of our heroes on the Earth to wreak mass destruction. In an attempt to build up enough mystical power to break Mother’s spells, Wiccan magically turns turns Kid Loki into Teen Loki — but he’s still not powerful enough. So the new plan is to invade Mother’s home dimension, age Wiccan into the Demiurge, and recruit other teenaged superheroes on Earth to stop the invasion of the Evil Young Avengers. That’s a lot of stuff that can go wrong, ain’t it?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great art, great writing, fun dialogue, desperate situations, awesome characters. I just enjoy every issue of this comic so much.

Comments off



FF #12

It’s just wall-to-wall hijinks in this issue. The kids get adjusted to the presence of Adopf Impossible, introduce him to comics, point out that his dad, with his purple and green color scheme, is definitely a villain, and then get chased all over by the shapeshifting nerd, before he finally discovers a new obsession — adorable Marvel Universe anime. Meanwhile, everyone is making plans to kill elderly Johnny Storm, Dr. Doom is getting pressured to agree to become Doom the Annihilating Conqueror, Scott Lang gets hot coffee spilled on his leg, and She-Hulk and Darla Deering go boxing.

Verdict: Thumbs up. There isn’t a whole lot of major import that happens in this issue, but it’s all great fun. Some of it is pretty funny, some of it is just cool, and all of it beautifully illustrated.


Atomic Robo Presents Real Science Adventures #11

While the Triumverate makes its plans to take over the country, the only hope is the Consortium of Science — Nikola Tesla, George Westinghouse, Charles Fort, Winfield Scott Lovecraft, Wong Kei-Ying, Harry Houdini, and Annie Oakley. Unfortunately, our heroes are in the midst of being invaded by a small army of the Triumverate’s forces. Can they all keep from getting captured? Can they keep the Triumverate from destroying New York City, wrecking the economy, and taking over everything?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Tons of action and humor, with some decent suspense at the end. The art is… interesting. I like it, but it isn’t really what I was expecting from this series. At any rate, this all gets wrapped up next issue, so hold onto yer hats…

Today’s Cool Links:

Comments off