Reviews of trade paperbacks of comic books (mostly Marvel), along with a few other semi-relevant comments / reviews.

05 June 2007

Spider-Girl Presents Fantastic Five: In Search of Doom

Collects: Fantastic Five #1-5 (1999-2000)

Released: September 2006 (Marvel)

Format: 120 pages / color digest / $7.99 / ISBN: 0785121323

The Fantastic Four is the title in which the generational aspect of the M2 Universe is best served. It’s logical the team would continue with future generations of the Richards / Storm / Grimm families.

And that’s what writer Tom DeFalco has in mind in Fantastic Five: In Search of Doom. Reed and Sue Richards’s son, Franklin, has joined the team in place of his mother, and the team h as added Johnny Storm’s wife, Lyja. Despite these changes to the team, the team functions essential as normal, and DeFalco’s old-school style works well in this title, giving it a sense of connection to the original Fantastic Four series.

Spider-Girl Presents: Fantastic Five: In Search of Doom cover On the other hand, DeFalco is a little overindulgent of his own work. Lyja’s creation — revealed as a Skrull who had impersonated Alicia Masters and married the Human Torch — is popularly considered a low point of not only the Fantastic Four but comics in general. But DeFalco created her, and here she is. Sharon Venture, the love interest of Ben Grimm (the Thing) when DeFalco wrote the Fantastic Four, is Ben’s ex-wife. Hyperstorm, another flavorless DeFalco creation, is the villain who causes Sue’s retirement in a change in Reed’s status. None of these are great creations; DeFalco used them well, however. Well — the fight between Hyperstorm and Franklin has little of the energy or sense of import that such a battle should have, and the other fights are somewhat below the Fantastic Four’s cosmic level.

Yet somehow it all works. Despite all the changes, the book echoes the original Fantastic Four strongly, from the shadowing of the Lee / Kirby #1 in the first issue to the use of the Wizard and his new henchmen as the major villains. There is a real sense of family, even if the choice of family members by DeFalco is odd, with the second generation going strong. The title also screams M2, with DeFalco’s voice being the unifying tie between the titles.

Surprisingly, this is an enjoyable title.

Rating: Fantastic Four symbol Fantastic Four symbol Fantastic Four symbol (3 of 5)

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