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Friday, January 5, 2018

More Fantastic Four please

I've never been a big Marvel guy. It just never clicked for me. Sure, in the heyday of the 1980s, I picked up X-Men for a while, and X-Factor. I liked Dark Phoenix and other tales, but it was never the religion to me it was to others. I wanted to like other Marvel books, but Hulk just didn't interest me, nor did Iron Man, Spiderman, Alpha Flight or Avengers. Captain America was a dull and unappealing concept to me.

I know I missed out on some great stuff by ignoring Marvel so much. I missed Frank Miller's epic Daredevil run, much to my regret. I didn't find The Punisher all that appealing, and didn't pick up those now-valuable minis and regular series runs.

But I did love the Fantastic Four. It was the only Marvel book I got regularly (outside of Star Wars, which I never missed).

Over at DC I was addicted to The Legion of Super Heroes (that was my religion), and I dug The New Teen Titans, lived for the massive Justice League crossovers with Justice Society and others. I knew the DC universe inside out. And despite trying to get into Marvel's Secret Wars and Contest of Champions, I just found it hard to get excited.

What was it about FF? Maybe their bold claim on the cover that they were the world's "greatest comic magazine" or maybe the great artwork by John Byrne pulled me in. I also liked the less super heroic approach. They were more a family than a super team, and the dynamic was somehow less grandiose than most other books. I liked that.

I also admit that I had a massive crush on Sue Storm. Massive.

This can, perhaps be explained in comparisons to my other super heroine crush, Saturn Girl from the Legion:

And later, Black Canary:

Yes, it would seem that my teenage self had a type.

For a while there Sue Storm was my favorite though. She was perhaps the first MILF to catch my eye. (I do not apologize for that comment, since I was in massive puberty at the time)

My love for FF continued, even though after Byrne left the book in the 80s, so did I. Once they came back in the 90s, I got back in, and have started collecting with every reboot since. In the most recent years, I gave up before the runs ended on most of them though, as they all sort of ran out of steam. And, of course, Marvel spitefully cancelled what should be their flagship book in an alleged attempt to do harm to the most recent movie. (Which was self-harming, so they didn't need to bother).

It s a crime that the FF are not on shelves now. And it seems like a no brainer for Marvel to bring them back. Of course, if you follow the news, Marvel may be working under the "no-brainer" banner these days as the company's publishing has fallen off a cliff. Or perhaps driven off it like Thelma and Louise. (Spoiler)

In recent months my love of the FF starting to bubble again. I've been on a path to collect nice hardcover and omnibus editions that have become a new rage. I managed to add the two Byrne FF Ominbuses to my collection, and they are incredible.

It's like being a kid again, flipping through those pages. I still have many original issues in bags and boxes, but it is nice to have a first class presentation in hardcover.

I was skeptical when I saw a new issue on stands last month. It was under the title: Marvel Legacy Fate of the Four part 1, Marvel 2 in One, The Thing and the Human Torch. (Marvel needs to hire someone to help them with titling books, I think).

I ignored it for a week as it sat there on stands. Marvel's attempt to "fix" their recent sins with the whole "Legacy" approach felt tired and too on the nose. The old trope of returning to original numbering was only confusing to me. Why do any of us need to know it is Black Panther #157 or Moonknight #138 if you counted up all the previous issues and combined them. With Captain America's #695 and Iron Man #593, it looks embarrassing to see lower numbers on some of those books, doesn't it? Legacy of what?

And with Action Comics rolling up on #1000, it only looks less impressive. Maybe that's just me.

Maybe Marvel should focus on telling better stories. Like DC has with Rebirth. Not that DC didn't slip and fail repeatedly in recent years, before course correcting. DC You anyone? Convergence? And where's the freaking Legion of Super Heroes and JSA, DC?

Still, I could not resist the temptation that perhaps Marvel was sneaking the FF back into the line up. I knew the Sue Storm had appeared in an Agents of SHIELD comic a while back, and apparently The Thing ran with Guardians of The Galaxy for a while there. But who can keep up and chase scant appearances by the characters in other titles?

During a couple days of vacationing at the beach after Christmas, I did what I typically do in a vacation setting: I google "comic shops near me" and I seek them out.

I found Coastal Comics in Myrtle Beach ( ) and dropped in to check them out. Lovely store, with a lot of back issues and a huge array of current titles. And there it was again. The Marvel 2 in One thing. Now, I have a pull list at Pastimes ( )  in Asheville (which I've had for about 30 years now), so I had to resist picking up Doomsday Clock #2 and other titles. But I did have to get something, right? So I picked it up.

And I am very encouraged with the story and direction it seems to be headed. And the last page cliffhanger was a major gut punch of emotion that will help propel the tale forward.

I have not been this excited about a Marvel Comic in ages. Here's hoping they bring back the FF and keep the great momentum going that has been set up here!

CBR has a great breakdown of the issue:

And there's a peak at second issue and some more details from

Here are the details of #1:


  • Variant Cover by ALEX ROSS
  • LH Variant Cover by JON MALIN
  • 1965 T-Shirt Variant by JACK KIRBY
  • Kirby 100th Anniversary Variant Cover by JACK KIRBY
  • Trading Card Variant Cover by JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER
  • The Fate of the Four Part 1
  • THE FOUR ARE NO MORE, SO TWO MUST DO! Something is very wrong with THE HUMAN TORCH and only THE THING can help him! It’s the Marvel Universe reunion you’ve all been waiting for (well, HALF of it, at least!). Plus: What monumental secret has DOOM been hiding since the end of SECRET WARS, and how will it completely change the lives of Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm? PLUS: Includes 3 bonus MARVEL PRIMER PAGES!
  • 32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99

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