Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fantastic Four #291

Fantastic Four #291-"The Times They Are A' Changing!"
Cover Date: June 1986 Price $.75
Cover Tagline :"The World's Greatest Comic Magazine!"
Writer/Artist: John Byrne

What Happened: The story opens with the image of a flying car touching down in a dark alley in Greenwich Village . The car is from the spy organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D, which is an acronym for some technical sounding branch of the government. Suffice it to say, S.H.I.E.L.D is like the F.B.I , C.I.A., Department of Homeland Security, and Star Trek all rolled into one. Those in the car include Sue and Johnny Storm, the jade skinned powerhouse known as the She-Hulk, and the gruff war veteran Nick Fury. The foursome get out of the delori--I mean hover car, and explore their surroundings, trying to get a bead on the differences they sense. Fury tells the others that he is all too familiar with the area, because they have landed in his old the year 1936!!!

While the team stands in a bit of astonishment, Johnny mentions that Sue is in charge, as Reed Richards is now dead. Geez, what happened?! It's only been 3 issues since my last trip to "the box." Anyway, Sue says that Reed would indeed know what to do, and who to contact. As anyone whose seen Time Cop knows, it can cause irreparable damage to the time stream to interact with anything the past. As Sue talks, Fury alerts her to the presence of a dreaded garbageman, who will assuredly be startled at their appearances as he turns the corner. Sue deftly handles the situation by cloaking everyone and the S.H.I.E.L.D car with her invisibility powers. That garbageman could have forever altered the Marvel Universe....

Thanks to some quick thinking, Fury then uses an imaging device in the S.H.I.E.L.D car's internal computer to make it stand out less. While the images available do not include 30's models, Fury makes the car look like a U.P.S. truck ,which is inconspicuous in the 1930's landscape apparently. She- Hulk even makes a snide comment, revealing John Byrne's politics underlying attitude about U.P.S' aesthetic choices. Man, this is comics, get off your soapbox.

As the team drives through the streets trying to think of some contacts they could meet with to solve their chronological predicament, a police car turns on its siren behind them. In a clear case of time based profiling, Fury states that the cops must have seen the truck's unchanged license plate from 50 years in the future. As Fury speeds away, he evades the police and is startled as he turns the corner and finds that he and his passengers have gone back...back to the future!

Yes, for some inexplicable reason, the team appears to be back in their own era. Johnny "worst teammate ever" Storm immediately jumps out of the car and tells everyone that he has to go make sure his fiance Alicia's okay. He flies to her apartment, and she says everything's fine. Johnny asks her what she has been doing since all the time warp stuff happened, and she tells him its only been 3 hours since they last spoke. Johnny is confused, since he believes he has been gone a long time, what with all fighting in the Negative Zone and watching Reed die and such.

As Johnny goes to explain his whereabouts, he suddenly finds himself back in the past, with Alicia nowhere to be found. Johnny takes to the skies in flame form, and forgets that whole "don't mess with the past" rule. But it's okay, because he has "air brakes", a la Willie E. Coyote. Just don't look down, matchstick.

On the other side of town, we find that Nick Fury has crashed the S.H.I.E.L.D car into a wall, seemingly on purpose. It seems that S.H.I.E.L.D. often uses holograms to mask secret entry ways around town, and as Fury drove towards one in the future, the timeline switched back to the 30's. Fury's knocked out cold, and in need of a doctor. Sue tells She-Hulk to watch over ol-one eye, while she gets help. As she leaves, Fury's radio pipes up with a message from agents who are aboard a S.H.I.E.L.D. satellite called Space Platform One. As She-Hulk talks to the agents, they are a bit surprised to find out they're calling 1936.

We cut to a scene with Sue wandering the streets of New York, the places she's familiar with all but unrecognizable now due to the time travel. As Sue explores, she ponders the gravity of her new responsibility as team leader of the FF, as well as the reality that her husband is dead. We get a nice "when Sue met Reed" history lesson, and my theory that John Byrne must have had a Fantastic Four "origin recap quota" written into his contract gains more validity as we see another small flashback to that event.

As Sue continues to worry, we jump back to the She-Hulk, who is still on the horn with the satellite. She explains to the agents that her team is stuck in 1936, and they tell her it must be a localized issue, because all their instruments scan a normal Manhattan setting. Shulkie tells the agents to hold on, as she sees a car about to run over a guy in a trench coat.

Knowing the lesson that she shouldn't trifle with the past, the She-Hulk decides to intervene anyway, and stops the car from running down its intended victim. His attackers call the She-Hulk a devil and flee the scene, and she asks the smooth looking gentleman she just saved to tell her his story. He obliges, and tells her that he's "Licorice" Calhoun, a Clarinet player from a local jazz club.

It seems Licorice's dreams always come to fruition, and this was a trait which his boss was trying to exploit by making him dream of riches. Licorice explains the men in the car wanted to run him down because he didn't dream of riches, but blood and fire. The blood and fire, he found out, were the bosses horse stables, which burned to the ground.

While the deaths of horses makes for pleasant conversation between She Hulk and Licorice, Nick Fury awakens in the hover car and tunes in the radio. After hearing a report about something in "a German leader in Berlin", Fury flips out and takes off in the flying car. She-Hulk tries to stop him just as Sue returns. The women, along with "Licorice", watch Fury fly away, and Sue says they have to stop Fury. Because Sue knows that Fury is going to try and kill Adolf Hitler, an action which could severely disrupt time and space. Didn't they learn anything from Time Cop!?

What I Thought:It's getting harder to judge these issues for quality. Coming in from the standpoint of not knowing what happened to Reed, how the team got the past, and why they were with Nick Fury in the first place, I actually felt as discombobulated as some of the characters in the comic. I'm not saying that as a criticism though, it was actually kind of fun to try and decipher what happened. I think as usual some of this issue feels stretched out, especially scenes like the team almost getting discovered by the garbageman. But still, that kind of "story stretching" beats the heck out of some of the offenses found in modern comics, where whole issues could be axed without losing any of the story.

As far as the plot, I was intrigued by the whole switching back and forth between eras concept. The time travel bit with the "should we save Hitler?" question is cliche, but for a character like Fury it at least has a little bit of relevancy. I would like to think Fury would know better nowadays and just leave the timestream be. To give this issue a little more credit, I was curious enough about what would happen next that I went online and bought issue 292. I'm actually a bit saddened that I'll soon be reviewing FF books that aren't by John Byrne.

And while I rag on Byrne for including the FF's origin so much, I understand that comics and related bits of information were not as readily available at the time as they are now. The fact that Byrne so masterfully recaps Sue's whole life in one page either says a lot about his abilities, or very little about Sue's personal life outside of Reed.

So until Marty McFly joins the FF, vive le fantastique!

Monday, June 28, 2010

"3"-The Mystery Deepens

I feel as if I should retract something from yesterday's post, entitled "what is '3?'". While Marvel Did release teaser images showing possible combinations of the new Fantastic 3, I failed to find and post ALL of the images. I incorrectly reported that it would be the Invisible Woman or Mr. Fantastic who would be killed off. As you can see from the images below, no one is safe from speculation:

Option 1- No Reed

Option 2- No Johnny

Option 3- No Ben

Option 4- No Sue

I originally thought Sue would be the one to die, but after pondering it a while, it's hard to say. I keep thinking that if Sue does indeed die, no one will be left to care for the children. But with Reed recently enrolling the kids in his own personal "Future Foundation", he may be there to pick up the pieces. Also, with Sue's death, the grief may drive Reed to ask the Future Foundation to do some questionable (a.k.a fun to read about) things. Call me a pessimist, but I just see the Future Foundation blowing up in Reed's face.

Anyway, I apologize for misinforming the masses (all 2 of you) about the possible outcome of this story. But look at it this way, with 2 more people who could possibly die, the story just got twice as interesting.
Until my math related jokes become funny, vive le fantastique!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

What is "3?"

(Editor's Note- The following post contains spoilers...and fun!)

Spoiler images and solicitations for the Fantastic Four's next big storyline, simply entitled "3", have been popping up in interviews, at conventions, and online for months now. At first it was assumed (mostly by the editor of this distinguished weblog) that the storyline had something to do with Ben Grimm, the superhero known as the ever lovin blue eyed Thing, joining the New Avengers team. But now that the arc is drawing nearer, Marvel has unleashed some more cryptic warnings.

After reading an interview on ComicBookResources with writer Jonathan Hickman, it is revealed that the story will feature the war of the four cities, the resurgences of Galactus and Dr. Doom, and that through it's course one of the members of the team will die. Hickman went on to say that unlike previous times the team has lost a member and found a replacement, he will approach this loss with more of a "family-oriented" attitude. The approach makes sense, because if someone's little brother dies, they don't just go and get the neighbor kid to take his place. Marvel released these teaser images accordingly:

So it would appear that either Reed Richards or Susan Richards will no longer be on the team after issue #587. As it is comics, there is a good possibility that the change will not be permanent, and could just serve the story for a short time before being reversed. After all, there have been plenty of issues where one, more, or all of the cosmic quartet have died and been revived. The above images were done by the incomparable Steve Epting, who will be joining the book for the "3" arc. Many know the artist as the man who helped kill Steve Rogers, illustrating the now classic Captain America #25. Ifanboy had both those teaser images, as well as some preview pages, one of which can be seen below:

Things are certainly looking up for the "World's Greatest Comics Magazine." Until the book becomes Fantastic One, vive le fantastique!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Staying Current: Fantastic Four 576-579

(Editor's Note- "Staying Current" is a feature intended to to let all of this site's loyal readers know what's happening within the newest issue of Fantastic Four. However, as the feature hasn't been "current" for quite some time, today is going to be a summary of the past 4 issues. It is urged that in addition to reading these synopses, you go enjoy these books in their fullness, because they are really jam packed with wonderfully engaging stories.

What is essential to understand is that in issue #574 an adult Franklin Richards came back from the future and told his sister Valeria that there would be a war between 4 cities. In issue #575 the FF came across city #1, the city of the High Evolutionary.... )

Fantastic Four #576-"Prime Elements Part 2- The Old Kings of Atlantis"
Cover Date: APR 2010 Price $2.99
Cover Tagline :"Tell me, who speaks for man?"
Writer/Artist: Jonathan Hickman/ Dale Eaglesham

What Happened- The issue starts with Sue explaining to Ben and Johnny the existence of an Arctic base that she and Reed's science grants help to fund. Because of the base's unique location in extreme temperatures, it was of interest to science when it was discovered that there was a large body of suspended water near the area. According to Sue, this means that any living thing in the area will have been untouched by human evolutionary standards for the last 500,000 years, and could follow a divergent evolutionary path.

The research team stationed at the base then discovered that there was some type of "superstructure" beneath the ice. This structure was also of interest to the terrorist group called A.I.M., who Reed discovers via spy satellite is trying to infiltrate the area. Naturally, the Fantastic Four head to the base to stop A.I.M. and any dastardly deeds they may enact on the area.

The FF arrive at the base and are told by of the research team that there is a thermal vent near the superstructure whose sheer noise will prevent the team from communicating while they are below the water. In a masterpiece of graphic storytelling, the comic goes "silent" for the next few pages as the team dives below the water past the thermal vent and finds not only A.I.M terrorists, but giant eel and fish-type creatures as well. The FF repel the A.I.M. threat, and are cornered by what could be referred to as "fishmen." The fishmen give the FF some telepathic communicators (not unlike the brain slugs from tv's Futurama), and the team is taken before three royal undersea figures.

The main royal figure speaks to the FF and identifies himself as Ul-Uhar. He welcomes the team to Atlantis, to which everyone gives a big WHAAAA?? Reed tells Ul-Uhar that Atlantis has been destroyed, to which the other royal figures reply that the entire SEA is Atlantis. Ul-Uhur then goes on to say that he is confused, because the A.I.M. agents and the FF are both human yet fight each other. He then basically asks the FF to "take me to your leader", wondering who the king of humanity is. Reed tells him that humanity isn't like that, with things like democracy, the U.N, and text voting on American Idol speaking for the best interests instead of one person. Sue then stops Reed, and tells Ul-Uhur that she speaks for humanity. Ul-Uhur tells Sue that she needs to deliver a message: "The old kings of Atlantis have returned."

What I Thought: This issue was very powerful. Although at first I felt cheated by the lack of dialogue, it all came together after taking the time to appreciate Mr. Eaglesham's visuals. And seeing Sue step forward as the voice of humanity gave me chills, because it fits her personality yet promises huge repercussions. But that's what a Fantastic Four issue is supposed to do, right?

Fantastic Four #577-"Prime Elements Part 3- Universal Inhumans"
Cover Date: MAY 2010 Price $2.99
Cover Tagline :"How Does One Best Serve the Universal Collective?"
Writer/Artist: Jonathan Hickman/ Dale Eaglesham

What Happened: This issue starts six months in the past on the blue area of the moon, which is home to the Fantastic Four's allies (and sometimes lovers) the Inhumans. The leader of the Inhumans, the tight lipped and ultra cool Black Bolt, summons his people to head out with him into space. Before they leave, Black Bolt and Medusa bid farewell to a white-bearded Inhuman who will be staying behind. Some ominous words about a "gathering" are spoken, and Black Bolt places a large rod (it's kind of like a citronella candle) into the surface of the moon, and then the Inhuman ship takes off. Time goes on, and as the bearded Inhuman waits, he tells the other inhabitant of the moon, everyone's favorite voyeur Uatu the Watcher, that some crazy stuff is about to go down. Suddenly, a giant alien space ship lands on the surface of the moon.

Reed uses his spy satellite (just like last issue!! Maybe he wants Uatu's job) and sees the ship landing on the moon. He tells Sue, Ben, and Johnny that it appears to be a colonization vessel, and invites them to come investigate. When the team gets to the moon, Reed sensors pick up tens of thousands of heat signatures within the vessel, and the team wonders how to get inside. The white bearded inhuman from the prologue appears and invites the team to come inside. The Inhuman reveals that his name is Gandal--I mean "the summoner", and he welcomes the team to the "universal city."

The summoner shows the team around the ship, and asks Reed if he knows how the Inhumans came into existence. Reed gives the summoner a big "duh" and Reed basically tells beardy to "tell me something I don't know. " The Summoner obliges by telling Reed that the Inhumans the FF have come to know are not the only Inhumans. They are creations of the Kree race, and their mutations are brought on by their skins exposures to the Terrigan mists. But the crazy thing is, there are 4 other kinds of Inhumans, all with different catalysts that change them (included in these 4 kinds are Dire Wraiths, who were last seen in this site's review of issue 277).

Reed, Sue, Johnny, Ben, and I are all blown away by the implications of this wide of a scope of Inhumans, but that's not all. The Summoner goes on to tell Reed that Black Bolt went on his space journey to go and destroy the Kree Supreme intelligence, and that when he comes back, he is going to be the leader of all 5 of the tribes of the Inhumans. Reed asks if they plan to live on the moon, and the summoner drops a final bomb: They are all going to live on Earth.

What I Thought: This issue blew my mind. Pure and simple. Jonathan Hickman took a play out of the Geoff Johns handbook and totally retconned an established property such as the Inhumans, giving them an entirely new purpose in the Marvel Universe. In one issue. See, this is why I tell people to read this book!

Fantastic Four #578-"Prime Elements Part 4- The Cult of the Negative Zone"
Cover Date: JUN 2010 Price $2.99
Cover Tagline :"Here you die. In the Negative Zone, you can live."
Writer/Artist: Jonathan Hickman/ Dale Eaglesham (in his final issue...tears.)

What Happened: This story is narrated by Johnny Storm and begins with him scammin on a hottie in da club. Actually for a club it's really weird, and there's a bald guy calling himself the anti-priest and yelling about "new rules for life."

As for Johnny and the girl, he invites her back to the Baxter Building to see his "rocket ship" (okay, that was my joke, not his), and when the girl finds the opening to the Negative Zone portal, this happens:

Yes, you saw correctly, giant mechanical bugs with bombs jumped out of her back and flew into the negative zone. Johnny follows the bugs inside and finds that there is a battle raging with the N-Zone. The battle is being fought between those who follow Ahnillus, the former bug faced ruler of the Negative Zone, and Blastaar, who used to just be a lowly Negative Zone villain. Johnny then goes on to tell that the "#42 Negative Zone Prison" from the Civil war has been re purposed into a city. We as the audience find out at this point that he has been telling the story to Valeria, who is entering facts onto her computer. She comments that the Negative Zone Prison City, along with the city of old Atlantis and the city of the Universal Inhumans, is now the fourth city that the team has recently come across.

We cut to a scene with Susan Richards visiting Ul-Uhur (the king of the Fishmen from issue #576), along with an envoy of Namor. Namor's envoy tells Ul-Uhur two things: Namor is awesome, and until they're willing to come to the surface, the "old kings" of Atlantis have no say in anything. So just to spite Namor, Ul-Uhur raises the city...

We cut back to Johnny, as Reed comes in to have a heart-to-heart with him. Reed basically tells Johnny that bringing that bug filled flusie back to the Baxter Building was really bad judgment, and that everyone else is changing, so Johnny needs to grow up a little.

And just for good measure we end the issue on a scene of the Inhumans. As they prepare to conquer the earth, they offer a sacrifice: they send 6 of their best warriors into a battle they cannot win. The issue ends with the warriors rushing into the negative zone, and a caption that reads "And so, in the Negative Zone, the war of four cities begins."

What I thought: Another terrific issue. Hickman captures Johnny's voice in a way that Mark Millar only wishes he could. Youthful, humorous, but experienced as a superhero, this is a Johnny I'd like to (and probably will) read more about.

As the end of the "Prime Elements" arc, I will say that there was very little resolution here. I don't think you can really criticize something for having too epic of a scope, but it does depend a lot on presentation (like Final Crisis, with its big ideas but limited space). This arc sets the stage for the future of the FF series, which I knew from reading interviews with writer Jonathan Hickman. The casual reader may be a bit put-off by the scope of these stories, and this might falter when read in a trade, but I appreciate that threads from Hickman's first issue are still paying off eight issues later. I'd liken this book to Green Lantern in the sense that everything eventually serves a purpose, no matter how small it may seem. Rest assured, it's a HUGE story, but if you stick with it, it's very satisfying.

Fantastic Four #579-"The Future Foundation"
Cover Date: JUL 2010 Price $2.99 (Thank you, Marvel!)
Cover Tagline :"The Future of Man is not is out there."
Writer/Artist: Jonathan Hickman/ Neil Edwards

What Happened: Our story starts At the Singularity conference in Golden , Colorado. A meeting of the most brilliant minds from around the world, speakers come to Singularity share ways in which Science will effect the future(apparently it's real), and it's Reed Richards' turn to speak. Well, does he have something to say. After praising the ideals of the keynote speaker (who happens to be the She-Hulk, who talked about the ethics of genetics within the confines of the law), Reed rips into his fellow presenters. I never thought I'd enjoy reading a comic where someone gets a "stern talking to", but watching a smart guy tell a bunch of other smart guys that they've gotten lazy is just plain awesome. Anyway, after Reed tells the audience they've gotten old and their ideas are not bold enough, he resigns from the Singularity council like a total rock star.

We cut to a week later, and Alex from the Power Pack is arriving at the Baxter Building. Alex tells Reed that he doesn't feel smart enough to be included in Reed's new project, but Reed tells Alex his experience as a superhero offer him a unique perspective.

We cut to a scene of Sue talking to Ul-Uhur (the king of the fishmen), and he tells her that her request is unusual, but now that he raised the city, he feels as if he can dream again. He tells her that her wish is granted, and the scene leaves us hanging...

We go back to the Baxter Building, where the super smart Moloids who Ben Grimm rescued from issue #575 are doing equations. One Moloid realizes that there is a curved axis that runs through the 4 cities that the FF have recently been exploring...

We then cut to a two page spread about Nu-World, which was seemingly destroyed in issue #573. I'm gonna be honest, I'm not fully sure what this part of the story means just yet, other than it obviously has huge bearing on what's coming up next.

We then jump back to the Baxter Building, where Franklin is sparring with Artie and Leech (these Morlocks were taken in by the FF around issue #574). Franklin is looking for a catch phrase, while Ben Grimm and Alex from Power Pack watch the fighting. In the corner of the room Valeria Richards tinkers with the brain of the Dragon Man, saying she is trying to make him better, but can't get it right. As Franklin beats up his friends, Artie shows Valeria with his mind what the Dragon Man's brain looks like disassembled. Val then asks him to show her with his mind what her pen looks like disassembled, and she thinks it's really cool...

We then cut to a scene of Reed visiting the "Wizard", a.k.a. Bentley Whitman, in his psychiatric hospital. Whitman asks Reed if he solved everything (referring to Reed's former goal in issues 570-573), and can tell by Reed's demeanor that he tried and gave up. Whitman gloats and tells Reed that it is scientific fact that everything will eventually burn. Reed, unimpressed, tells the Wizard that he is going to raise Whitman's young clone (who the FF adopted around issue #570) to be a good person. As you can imagine, the Wizard is not too happy about this development.

When we cut back to the Baxter Building, we see the coming together of all the elements of this issue into one conglomerate: a group called the "Future Foundation", made up of all the kids Reed has adopted as well as Alex and Dragon Man. Whether this has the makings of a new superteam or the comic book equivalent of the Hitler youth movement remains to be seen...

What I Thought: This is the first issue of Fantastic Four to feature "The Heroic Age" banner at the top, and I can very much see how it is intended to be a jumping on point for new readers. In that spirit of renewed hope and direction, it succeeds. We see the culmination of the fact that Reed has been taking in a lot of stray kids lately, and we see the seeds of their role within the promised "war of four cities." While I think it's time the ball got rolling on the war, I'm still impressed by how good these FF stories are.

Woah. There you have it. My brain is sufficiently fried from all that catching up. And since the newest issue of Fantastic Four hits stands today, we'll be seeing the summary of issue #580 shortly. Until I learn to not procrastinate, vive le fantastique!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New Feature: One-Shot Showdown

It’s One-Shot Showdown! In which I compare the merits of two Fantastic Four related one-shots and render a verdict as to which one’s better. All decisions are final, written in stone, and utterly absolute…something around here has to be, right?

Today’s Theme: Humor

Today’s Contenders-
1982’s Fantastic Four Roast


2009’s Marvel TV: Galactus: The Real Story

Did you know there are some FF specials specifically written as satire?... neither did I. Not until searching some back listings of my favorite eBay store did I discover that these two issues even existed. And perhaps after we place them head-to-head, we’ll find some explanation for such graphic novel anonymity. Without further ado…Fight!

Fantastic Four Roast:
The plot: Fred Hembeck (apparently he’s a writer/artist) emcees a roast to celebrate 20 years of Marvel’s First Family. The entire population of crappy early 1980’s Marvel Universe make appearances, each with his/her individual take on the FF. Overall wackiness ensues as we discover that someone is out to get the FF.
+ This is honestly one of the strangest FF-inspired comic books I’ve ever seen. Its very existence makes it a must-read for a collector such as this reviewer.

+ This comic book is for anyone who has a working knowledge of the Marvel Universe, and doesn’t take it too seriously. Jokes about “peeping Uatu”, Dr. strange being so boring that his speech puts everyone to sleep, and Moon Knight being a Batman rip-off give this book the perfect amount of tongue-in-cheek.

+ Despite the humorous nature of the book, there was a huge cast of artists who do some pretty impressive interiors, as well as a cool two-page pin up of all the Marvel heroes.
- Well, obviously the fact that this based in a time period when “roasts” were actually pretty common place totally dates this book.

- Like many older comics, the writing can be a bit verbose. With my modern attention span and comedic tastes, I’m used to a little more brevity.

- Fred Hembeck’s not as compelling as he believes.

And since you’re probably in the throes of curiosity, here are some scans:

Marvel TV: Galactus: The Real Story
The Plot:
Think “TMZ meets the Marvel Universe” and you have the main contents of this comic. The idea is that much like the moon landing, there is a large section of the population of the Marvel Universe that believes that the giant purple planet-devouring villain known Galactus is actually a hoax. Interviews with the Wingless Wizard, a certain blurred out Avenger with a purple costume and bow and arrows, and a man claiming to be Galactus himself all help to posit various theories about the true nature of the purple destroyer.
+ This comic has a quick comedic pace and some good visual gags. The blurred out Avenger is obviously Hawkeye, and as he is interviewed you can clearly see another picture of him on his wall behind his blurred visage.

+ This comic does a good job of incorporating the Marvel Universe as a whole into the whole Galactus conversation. There is even talk of a secret Illuminati that has orchestrated all the events in the Marvel Universe that consists of Beta Ray Bill, Dazzler, Puck, Deadpool, and Lockjaw.

+ The mock ads, skewed re-enactments of the FF’s history featuring rather ugly actors, and various conspiracy theories provided about Galactus aid this book in a consistent tabloid television-like feel.
- The cover is taken exactly from the splash page. That just screams “rush job from editorial” to me.

- Not really the story’s fault, but there is also a reprint of Fantastic Four #50 in the back of the book. It’s nice to see Kirby work in colored form, but it just seems like filler in this instance.

The Winner….

Upon second look, these books both proved to really have some laugh out loud (or at the least chuckle out loud) moments, but I’m going to go with the Fantastic Four Roast comic. While both of these one-shots are products of their respective times, and “tabloid exposes” such as the Marvel TV issue will probably seem dated down the road, the name of the game ultimately is "funny." The Fantastic Four Roast is joke-after-joke, done in such a flamboyantly farcical manner that no part of the story that takes itself seriously. While you may be hard pressed to remember the gags of the Roast issue specifically, it serves to make you take a second look. So if you’re ever faced with the dilemma of only being able to choose one these books, you can now make an informed decision. Until I find a Disco themed Fantastic Four one-shot from the 1970’s, Vive le Fantastique!