Monday, July 25, 2011
Fantastic Four #327
Fantastic Four 327-“Why?!!”
Cover Date Jun 1989 Price $.75
Writer/ Artist-John Harkness (if that is your real name!)/ Keith Pollard
Cover Tagline: “The Thing-- No More!"
Number of issues between last box pull: 0
Hey FFans, long time no write! Actually at this point, it's probably just "FFan", and I may or may not be referring to myself. Anywho, it's your flagrantly farcical friend Kello here, back with another frenetic foray into the world of everyone's favorite family of adventurers!
...In other words, I'm gonna tell you about some old Fantastic Four comic. Yes, I've dipped back into the "box" for the follow up to March's Fantastic Four #326 review. What, you've forgotten that review already? Seriously, it was only 4 months ago...
What Happened: Our story dives right in with a close-up shot of Ben Grimm shouting the most appropriate question one could ask regarding this comic- "WHY?!!" Surprised that he unexpectedly returned to his human form after being zapped by a ray at the end of last issue, Ben is now caught in the middle of a battle royal (with cheese) between the Frightful Four and the Fantastic Four.
This fierce fracas goes on for a significant amount of pages, and everyone gets a turn trying out some late 80's hero/villain banter:
After both sides get some good licks in, The Frightful Four retreat out the window and the FF decide not to give chase. Instead they hang back and admire Ben's transformation from big orange rocky looking guy in underwear to relatively big human looking guy in underwear. Of course, this leads to some dramatic tension, because a.) Without powers, Ben can no longer lead the FF, and b.) Pretty much the only commonality Ben has with his current girlfriend is that they're fugly rock monsters. It's ok though, both problems get resolved for the time being, as Ben hugs his "woman" and Reed plots to wrest control of the group.
Speaking of teams with tension, we're next treated to the Frightful Four's post-game pow-wow. Instead of focusing on the positives ("I really liked the way you threatened Franklin Richards, Klaw. You know how to pick on vulnerable people") , the ne'er do wells blame each other for the shared failure.
This gives Wizard pause, and he steals away for a page of "me time."
During a rather long-winded soliloquy, Wizard blurts out that going up against Reed and his entire family has taught him that Richards' reliance on his emotions is his biggest weakness. "The Wiz" asserts that he has the upper hand, because all the people he associates with are simply underlings whom he cares nothing for. Wizard then goes on to talk about hiring a mysterious new ally, and we see some not-so-subtle foreshadowing of a Giant Dragon flying outside the window. It almost looks like a "Dragon Man."
We jump back over to Four Freedoms, where Reed assumes control of the team once again, effectively ending the reign of terror that began in issue 307 (now THAT was a doozy!). He informs the team he has triangulated the whereabouts of the Frightful Four, and from there we have a rehash of the beginning of the issue. The FF take on the Frightful Four, trading equal numbers of blows and quips. The only difference with this new battle is how the FF abruptly pass out. 75% of the Frightful Four are baffled by this occurrence and look to the Wizard for the answer.
Wizzy reveals his new allies: Aron the Watcher, and Dragon Man! ...Yeah, that's the cliffhanger.
What I thought: This issue was a little bit like a sporting event. The two teams beat on each other, took a half-time to regroup, and then beat on each other some more until one side emerged victorious. While I would liken Reed's half-time coaching style to the more level-headed Coach K, it's Wizard's Bobby Knight inspired hissy fit that wins the day. Realizing there's no friends in villainy (much like there's no crying in baseball), Wizard called in some clutch relief and went hard in the paint to bring this baby home. That's all she wrote folks for the sports references, by the way.
But in all honesty, this issue had very little substance, and even the slightly compelling question of "What to do with Ben now that he's just a man?" loses it's appeal quickly. Everyone knows he'll be the Thing again in no time, and seriously, does anyone want to see a dude make out with a rocky creature? I guess there's a bit of a double-standard, because I don't mind Alicia with Ben when he's in his rocky form.
Once again Keith Pollard's art is above average. In a story with a lot of action sequences, Pollard does a nice job of mixing up the heroes and villains to convey a real sense of people "throwing down." And his rendition of a Rhino made of pure sound was pretty neat too!
And finally, Reed retakes command of the Fantastic Four. While it was an inevitability that was coming for some 20 issues, Reed acts like such a presumptuous jerk when it comes to leading the FF that even I was a little put-off (I usually like Reed when he's a jerk). The transfer of power is done with such lack of finesse that you might as well throw away all the comics where Ben serves as leader. Hey you know what? That's not a bad idea....
So until I start dating a girl with rocky orange skin, vive la fantastique!