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Back a Few Years Ago

July 11, 2010

So for some random reason, we have Fantastic Four Annual #32, another helping of Fantastic Four this month.  Normally I wouldn’t complain, but it’s done by Mark Millar’s pal Joe Ahearne and Bryan Hitch.  So here we go.  Some random girl shows up in the Baxter Building, and she’s pregnant with the Human Torch’s baby.  And the baby’s going to have powers.  So the team tries to clarify that she is indeed bearing Johnny’s child, as well as why Johnny doesn’t even remember kissing her.  Seems someone knocked them both out with drugs or something, then stole some of Johnny’s sperm to impregnate her.  Okay why?  Don’t know.  The Invisible Woman shrinks down and DNA tests the baby.  It’s Johnny’s.  Then they go into Johnny’s body to find the mysterious woman behind all this who shrank into his body.  It’s Psycho-Woman, Psycho-Man’s daughter.  She sends androids after them, they fight, she manipulates their emotions, blah blah blah.  The team ultimately beats her, and she dies too.  Then, when they’re going to go back in time to prevent the pregnancy, the girl jumps into the portal, choosing to raise the kid in the past.  So now Johnny’s baby is running around, fully grown, in the present.

Obviously, this was intended to be a nice call-back to Mark Millar’s now famous (and often pretty terrible) run on the F4 a couple years ago.  One problem.  It’s lacking everything that made his run popular (even if it wasn’t good).  First, Millar had the characters down pat, even if the plot was often really stupid, and Ahearne just doesn’t demonstrate that sharp characterization.  Second, the plot isn’t crazy and off-the-wall in an inventive way.  It’s crazy and off-the-wall in a doesn’t make sense way.  Psycho-Woman hates the F4, so she wants Johnny’s babies to make an army of firey warriors?  That doesn’t make much sense.  Plus, how are her choices of emotions (especially disgust) sharper than her father’s?  I didn’t get that.  And then there’s the boringness of the girl too.  Lastly, I can’t believe that the F4 would let Psycho-Woman just die.  That means Johnny killed her, and the other three indirectly assisted.  Yeah, can’t believe that.  Now, Bryan Hitch’s art is the same as usual.  That means it looks awesome some of the time and awkward other times.  His Thing face isn’t that good about half of the time.  And sometimes his faces can be a tad ugly.  It’s about the same level of quality as his Fantastic Four run, but worse than his Captain America: Reborn work.  So yeah, I feel a tad ripped-off with the $4.99 price here.  It wasn’t that good a story, and all we got for the extra two dollars was more of that not so good story.  Boy am I glad Jonathan Hickman’s on the main title.

Plot: 5.5      Art: 8.8      Dialogue: 6.7      Overall: 5.7

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