Week 12: Fantastic Four #602 vs Flash #5

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Fantastic Four #602

Fantastic Four #602

Eric’s Book

Eric: I don’t think there’s any way I can lose because this week I have chose “The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine!”, according to the cover. And we all know that covers don’t lie.

Dan: Well, hmm…That’s a wrap then, folks!

Eric: Alright, another notch in the win column for me! Well, just to go through the motions – this is the latest of the parallel story arcs that Hickman set into motion when Reed tried to Solve Everything. (The other half being told in FF) Because we’ve covered FF and F4 before – the quickest recap is that Johnny Storm is back and he’s now the leader of the Negative Zone baddies. He and the rest of the Future Foundation adults are in space, fighting the Kree Invasion which has beef with Earth because that’s where the Inhumans come from. Black Bolt’s crew is also in the battle, but don’t seem to be contributing to the win much. Back on Earth, bits of debris from the fight are demolishing NYC for like the 8th time in the past twelve months.

Finally, this week’s FF issue takes place before the Fantastic Four issue, but the link between them is so weak that you could read them in any order you want.

Dan: If I lived in a superhero world, I would NOT live in NYC. Too many heroes, man.

Eric: You know, they made a huge joke about that in last week’s Uncanny X-Men. This police officer moved away from NYC to be away from the Supers only to find himself near some podunk town that was destroyed in Uncanny X-Force in order to test a machine that would redo evolution on Earth. (Comics Everybody!) And so it was filled with an alternate evolution set of creatures that he and his cop team were fighting and then the X-Men showed up. It was a great little light-hearted jab at the fact that life can be way more dangerous in the Marvel world than in our world. We’ve had 2 international terrorist attacks and about another 2 domestic ones. In Marvel, NYC’s destruction is just another day. Anyway, that gets us off on a long tangent. Let’s get back to this issue.

I love on the second page how Spider-Man is still on leash duty.

Fantastic Four #602 - Spider-Man on Anihilus Leash Duty

Fantastic Four #602 - Spider-Man on Anihilus Leash Duty

Dan: When they got the Anhilus they said that he would have to take it out on his own every day. It builds responsibility.

Eric: So over the next few pages we see how impossible things are for our heroes and Sue and Reed go to use some mysterious device. We know this has something to do with Galactus because of the end of issue #600 when he was speaking with them. At least, it was pretty obvious to me.

Dan: Also he’s on the cover.

Eric: And we know covers never lie. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post. Then the Kree breach the hull and we get my FAVORITE Fantastic Four panel ever – Sue under a huge Reed blanket.

Fantastic Four #602 - Blanket Reed

Fantastic Four #602 - Blanket Reed

Dan: It’s right around here that I realized that the artist and colorist had cycled back to Kitson and Mounts, whose work I’d enjoyed so much before. They really are a delightful team.

Eric: I also love how strong Hickman writes Sue. Even as recently as the 90s she was usually taking a back seat to her husband. Hickman writes her as the powerful hero she is.

Dan: She certainly makes short work of the Kree…

Eric: By asphyxiating them! She’s definitely no Avenger or X-Men (who don’t kill)

Dan: Well, aliens don’t count. Johnny fries a whole bunch of their heads too.

Eric: Haha! That’s right. The Storms are on the war path! I also like how dopey Reed looks when she gets him up from his knocked out time.

Dan: Haha, that’s exactly what I was just thinking

Eric: And it’s really great since he started this by thinking he was powerful enough (mentally) to solve everything and when it comes to battle he’s essentially useless. (That’s overstating things a little, but still – I just LOVE how Hickman changes the dynamics of the team)

Dan: We’ve discussed before how Hickman’s FF and F4 seem to be down on Reed. He has not looked good of late.

Eric: In fact, after a couple pages of the Inhumans and Kree talking smack about each other we go back to Sue and Reed and once again Reed is committing his sin of trying to always find a better solution. While it can be an asset, it also sometimes leads to overcomplicating things. Sue gets him to activate it.

Dan: My favorite line of the book is when she talks about death metal falling from the sky like it’ll trigger nuclear winter. I mean, I’m no death metal fan, but that’s a pretty harsh indictment of the genre.

Eric: Yeah, it’s not Nickelback falling from the sky. I think my second favorite part of the book is what happens next. Galactus is summoned and he’s all “you called me here for some stupid Kree? I said call me when things get crazy!”

Dan: Dude came out of a black hole. That’s pretty cool. The scale of the art is pretty great too. To Galactus the fleet must look like a cloud of insects.

Eric: Yeah, I kept staring at that artwork, and reminding myself that these ships would be enormous – perhaps the size of city blocks and they are so tiny by Galactus. And, getting back to his annoyance at being called too early – I loved that too because Sue and Reed say, “You said we’d know when the time is right.” Which is always such an annoying plot device and a little too overused. So I love the fact that they actually got it wrong.

Dan: Well, did they? I mean, ok, he’s like five minutes early. Talk about premature…

Eric: Yeah, but no one knew what was coming. They called based on what they thought was the right time – and it totally wasn’t.

Dan: The Kree have their, “The bombs do nothing!” scene that reminds me of Evangelion (just watched 1.11 with Min last weekend) and then the true threat appears.

Eric: I love how everyone’s all mouths agape from Black Bolt to the 4-eyed Kree god-thing. Well, everyone except Galactus.

Dan: Anyone who knows anything about Marvel space knows that this is the time to be scared.

Eric: And so the Celestials show up in yet another book! They must be out to beat Wolverine for book appearances over the past twelve months.

Dan: I would read Wolverine and the Celestials…or a book where Celestials were headmasters of a mutant academy. Call me, Marvel, I’ve got money ideas.

Eric: And so the only negative thing is that I don’t think Spider-Man speaks once in this issue. So we don’t get Thing or Johnny telling him he’s not as funny as he thinks.

Dan: It’s a bummer, but it’s not the worst flaw a book could have.

Eric: And now on to your strange selection…

The Flash #5

The Flash #5

Dan’s Book

Dan: It seems like we segue into my books that way more and more recently…I’m just trying to bring the freshness, man. Everyone says Flash is good, so what do I do? Grab an arc-ending issue. Whoops! Nothing makes sense! I don’t know who anyone is!

Eric: Yeah, it’s a weird, weird time to pick this book because we can’t even recap – a great argument for Marvel’s intros in all their books.

Dan: The general idea seems to be that villains are up to no good. There’s a clone type dude, Mass Appeal, or something like that, and Captain Cold is freezing stuff too and it’s up to The Flash to fix it.

Eric: Mob Appeal? We’ll get to it soon enough.

Dan: No, no. I’m recapping. That’s what happened before this issue, or, rather, that’s what I guess.

Eric: So it opens up with a bunch of clones – Mob Rule, that’s what they’re called – following some scientist into his basement to get a cure for the reason they’re dying.

Dan: Clone degeneration disease or something. Your typical clone plot. In case you couldn’t tell from the dialogue implications, it appears that Mob Rule are clones of the scientist dude.

Eric: After that we head over to the Iron Heights Prison where Captain Cold has escaped and essentially left the prison wide open for other prisoners to escape.

Dan: Real winners too, like Folding Man. I’m shivering in fear.

Eric: Yeah, he almost seems like a manga villian. Maybe he fights Origami Man

Dan: They harass a young lady who looks like she might be a main character and we cut to –

Eric: A Bridge where regular people are about to attack police who aren’t letting them over the bridge.

Dan: Blah, blah, blah, they want to go home, but the next bit is the most impressive art in the book. I decided to try out Flash because I’d heard the art was amazing and the story was really cool. It’s kind of a bummer that this is the only truly impressive art in the book. They even use the little ice floes in the river to write out the name of the book. It’s creative.

Flash #5 - Title Splash

Flash #5 - Title Splash

Eric: Yeah, I was going to remark on the art earlier. It’s very nice – better than average, but not amazing. Anyway, Flash is SOOOO fast….. (ahem….that’s your cue Dan)

Dan: How fast is he?

Eric: (Thanks) So fast that he’s pulling along two 600 ton boats in his slipstream. I just saw a dude navigating the boat now, but on my first read I thought they were saying he’s so fast he could just bring boats along behind him while running.

Dan: That’s pretty fast!

Eric: Yeah, and the boats are from Wayne Enterprises for some reason. Whatever…. he gives them the boats and heads to the prison.

Dan: Possibly because he’s friends with Batman? Who knows…but we’re back with the lady sporting a grate. She ain’t taking no guff, man.

Eric: Dude, I’m not sure if she’s super bad-ass or if these villains just suck hard because it’s three-to-one and she’s holding her own.

Dan: Flash shows up to help clean up and thaw out guard dudes and this is when I realized that she was Iris who, if I’m not mistaken, was Barry’s wife pre-Flashpoint.

Eric: Yeah, and like Lois, will probably at least end up his girlfriend again at some point. After that, the last half of the book is essentially Flash dealing with his friend turned villain Manuel Lago

Dan: I liked that he had some kind of green energy generator. Say what you will about Flash, but his book is in the DC Universe. Certainly more-so than most of the other DC books I’ve read.

Flash #5 - Spin Cycle

Flash #5 - Spin Cycle

Eric: As things tend to go with basement science tech (see Men In Black 2 – or better yet, don’t) the equipment starts to fail and so Flash does what seems to be his signature move – run in a circle around whatever’s bothering you. (Certainly seemed to do that in every episode of Justice League I’ve seen)

Dan: Screws over Mob Rule. They all die because they needed the thing to work. Sucks for them.

Eric: So he then kicks Flash’s butt and leaves. And then we get to the obligatory Superman/Flash “where was your secret identity during the whole action?” scene.

Dan: Back to Manuel for the big reveal: Every time Flash breaks the speed of light he’s causing time distortion. Sending items back in time or pulling them forward

Eric: Yeah, and since this is how he caused the New 52, it’s interesting that this is happening so early on.

Dan: Ready to battle?
Eric: Yup!

Battle!

Eric: So what drove you to choose the Flash this week?

Dan: It’s literally the only thing I bought that hadn’t been in a previous POW. That’s…about it.

Eric: For a minute there I thought you’d thought we were doing a Weak POW! where you purposely pick a book that will be hard to defend.

Dan: Not this time, but we really should do that one week. I think we can both agree that the books this week, while not terrible, are not the best we’ve ever had compete. F4 has great pencils and is a satisfying part of a very long arc, but both books are pretty heavy on action and light on writing. One of them is just much lighter on being interesting…

Eric: Yeah, I have been enjoying FF and F4 a little less since the climax started. Perhaps that’s why I mentioned in a previous POW! that I wanted him to get to the point. I think he writes awesome stories pre-climax. Now it’s all explosions and pows!

Dan: I’m not that into action pieces to begin with, so, unless you’re doing amazing layouts, a la Batwoman, you’re gonna lose me. All that aside, do we really have to debate much further? F4 seems to be the superior book.

Eric: Yeah, looks like another swift debate week. I agree that the books just weren’t as amazing as they were last week. But I still get to take the victory lap!

Dan: You fought honorably. I do not fear defeat.

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