Friday, January 28, 2011

Fantastic Four #587

The second to last issue of this incarnation of the Fantastic Four (Marvel plans to relaunch the title as FF) is a pretty good indication why it's time to close the book on these characters. This isn't a bad comic, but, for almost all of the issue, it misses the point.

The Fantastic Four aren't the Avengers, they aren't the Defenders, and they aren't the Guardians of the Galaxy. They're family, and the characters work best when their comic focuses not on the latest galactic threat but the interactions between its four main characters.

Issue #587 splits the team up into three separate tales. Reed Richards tries to save the inhabitants of a doomed world from Galactus (in what might be his most boring cameo in any Marvel book, ever), Sue Storm attempts to broker peace between Namor and the tribes of Old Atlantis, and Ben and Johnny try to save the Reed children, and the rest of the world, from an Annihilus Wave attempting to break through from the Negative Zone.

The first two stories are largely forgettable (even with Sue's unexpected coronation as Queen of the Mer-People), but the third delivers a small glimmer of what the Fantastic Four should be - exciting, tragic, adventurous, and deeply personal. It also dramatically kills off one of the main characters to save the rest of the family. And that story is worth a look. Too bad the rest is little more than filler.

[Marvel $3.99]

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