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Cliché-Riddled Trash

July 7, 2009

     I think I finally understand how Mark Millar works.  All of his work is based on style and shock, and it’s often devoid of any real substance.  For Civil War and Enemy of the State, he actually had some good ideas behind them.  Unfortunately, in his final arc on Fantastic Four, his ideas have been crap.  In this issue, the Thing and Debbie deal with the fallout from the bizarre weather occurrences and Ben’s little tantrum on live television.  Then, the Marquis of Death and his apprentice arrive at the Baxter Building and begin forcing the F4 through various tortuous trials.  The Marquis particularly picks on Mr. Fantastic, trying to get him to sacrifice the lives of Franklin, the Thing, and Clyde Wyncham, some random mutant character from Millar’s previous work, Marvel 1985.  The Marquis then reveals that he is the Clyde Wyncham from the Old Man Logan universe, freed when all the supervillains banded together.  After that, he sends Reed back to the Baxter Building, which is under attack by various alternate F4s.  And the Earth-616 F4 mistake him for one of the enemies…

     Well, I think the Marquis of Death is one of the single most ridiculous villains I have ever seen.  His modus operandi in trying to break the F4 is just so stupid.  He states that he’s going to force the Invisible Woman to pick between Valeria and Franklin.  Cliché #1.  Then, he starts trying to get Reed to sacrifice someone else to save the world.  Cliché #2.  He also randomly kills Uncle Ben’s Aunt Petunia just to be an ass and to shock people.  Cliché #3.  So no, I don’t like this one bit.  In fact, I’m quite surprised that anyone likes it.  This comic book reeks of bad writing.  And did I mention that Millar can’t even take the time to finish this story himself?  He gets one of his collaborators, Joe Ahearne, to write the script for him.  Not that I could tell the difference.  As for the art, Bryan Hitch likewise can’t do it by himself.  So he gets Neil Edwards to finish it.  And believe me, it’s rather jarring to see the stylistic difference.  I noticed it the first time I skimmed through the pages.  So let’s see.  The story is bad, the art is funky (especially when Edwards is doing it), and neither of the main creators can be professional enough to do the work themselves.  If this is the price for the Fantastic Four achieving modern popularity, I’ll take the old days when a lot of people ignored it.  At least then the stories were of high quality, even if no one understood the appeal of Marvel’s first family.

Plot: 1.5      Art: 6.2      Dialogue: 3.3      Overall: 2.0

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