Saturday, July 09, 2005

FANTASTIC FOUR #527-28

So this is the start of JM Straczynski's run. I'm... not quite sure what I think. I know the first issues of anyone's run are a bit of a feeling-out period, an establishment of the house rules, but I can't say I warmed to this version. There were elements of the first issue that were quite nice and elements that were so very, very JMS and some that I just sort of shrugged and moved past. The second issue... I found it unpleasant in vague ways that I cannot quite pin down.

The whole project to recreate the F4's originating accident so that there would be more superpowered heroes didn't make sense last time -- hello, is this not the same universe with the eighty billion mutants, three-quarters of whom are a MetroNorth ride away from the Baxter Building up in Westchester? -- and it felt icky on many levels. Like trying to recreate a rape scene because the child born from the first one turned out well. Reed's involvement felt tawdry, even though it was being played a little for kicks, and I really hope he was the one to sabotage it. There's something mopey about this Reed that isn't doing it for me. Mark Waid's version was self-critical too, but there was a spark of animation to him that's missing here.

I'm never a fan of the hyperrealism trick of bringing in Social Services for kid heroes. After decades and generations of kid heroes and sidekicks, it is only ever a plot device and a weak one. It was used recently over in the Batman books (DYFS came after Bruce Wayne about the then-long-dead Jason Todd) and that played slightly better than this one because it was less ridiculous than flinging charges of parental negligence against the first family of superheroes.

I think I'm missing something in JMS's treatment of Ben... either that, or JMS is missing something. Either way, I think I'm dropping the title. I know the Ult-FF crossover is coming up and I'm not looking forward to that.

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