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

01 August 2008

Franklin Richards, Son of a Genius: Lab Brat

Collects: Son of a Genius, Everybody Loves Franklin, Super Summer Spectacular, Happy Franksgiving, Masked Marvel #1-2 (2006-7)

Released: January 2007 (Marvel)

Format: 120 pages / color digest / $7.99 / ISBN: 9780785123224

I feel kinda bad not recommending Franklin Richards, Son of a Genius: Lab Brat.

I really want to like Franklin. It’s written by Marc Sumerak and Chris Eliopoulos and drawn by Eliopoulos. Those guys are usually pretty good, but Franklin is …

Franklin Richards, Son of a Genius: Lab Brat coverWell, I hesitate to say “rip off” — certainly not as much of a swipe as those decals of Calvin whizzing on the automotive logo of your choice. It’s not like Bill Watterson should call his lawyers. But there’s definitely a Calvin and Hobbes dynamic, both in plot and art. (Man, does Franklin look like Calvin.) The stories are often greatly similar to Calvin’s sci-fi plots — where he “invents” a duplicator or transmogrifier and his invention / imagination gets out of hand. Because Franklin’s dad can actually invent those devices, the connection is obvious. Eliopoulos’s art is frighteningly similar to Watterson’s at times, although it’s usually more of a cross between Eliopoulos’s usual style and an overenthusiastic homage.

Franklin obviously plays the impulsive Calvin; his nanny / robot HERBIE is Hobbes, although because HERBIE is responsible for Franklin, there’s a slightly different relationship. Still, there are a considerable number of scenes with HERBIE standing aside, bemused at Franklin’s antics. Sumerak and Eliopoulos also inject the Marvel Universe into Calvin and Hobbes plots, but it doesn’t really feel as if the Marvel Universe adds much, except for a few Doombots.

Also included are a pair of Masked Marvel stories by Karl Kesel and David Hahn, about a comic book writer who’s secretly the Masked Marvel. Eminently missable page filler.

Rating: Fantastic Four symbol Fantastic Four symbol (2 of 5)

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