Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Blogathon 46: From Hell to Heaven Part One

[Beginning my discussion of the Mark Waid/Howard Porter/Mike Wieringo Fantastic Four stories "Authoritative Action" and "Hereafter."]

I won the Waid/Wieringo run of Fantastic Four in those three hardcovers that Marvel put out and, for me, the best stuff is the second hardcover if you ignore the final two issues included, which comprise an entertaining Human Torch/Spider-Man story albeit one that's forgettable and doesn't stand up to the two storyarcs included in that hardcover. The third hardcover feels a little more throwaway. Again, nothing gets bad; it's that none of it feels essential and necessary. A horrible word, I know. The first hardcover is a nice build to the Dr. Doom story, particularly the issue focusing on Doom and the love from his youth. I can see why some would see that Doom story as the high point. I liked those comics. I didn't love them and got the second hardcover because that first hardcover was good enough to keep up with it. The second hardcover, though, was when Waid really hit his stride and put his mark on the book for my money.

I'm actually surprised that I even picked up the first hardcover, because I wasn't a fan of the first issue of their run, the nine-cent issue. Like much of the first hardcover, I thought it was fine. It was inoffensive and left me fairly cold. It must have been all of the positive word of mouth. Enough people talk something up and you're bound to check it out. I'm glad I did.

The first hardcover culminated in a story where Doom attacked the Fantastic Four with an emphasis on magic. That alone was a smart idea. The magic of Doom has been around for a long time, but never really played up in his fights against the Fantastic Four. His skin armour was genuinely creepy and more than any other time, Doom came off as a threat. He really seemed like he was a dominant force that may be too much for the Fantastic Four. Although defeated and sent to Hell, he had a lasting effect on the family when he sent Franklin to Hell and left Reed's face scarred. While there were two issues between that story and "Authoritative Action," the kick-off story for the second hardcover is a definite follow-up to Doom's attack.

In "Authoritative Action," Reed Richards takes the Fantastic Four to Latveria seemingly to disarm Doom's castle and make sure if he returns he won't have the same resources that he always has. I love that idea. It's an active way to approach the problem of Doom, something right up my alley. Where the story goes after that, pushing things even further, made me love it even more.

I'll talk more about this in 30 minutes...

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