Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Blogathon 47: From Hell to Heaven Part Two

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

Reed's plan in Latveria is much more extensive than simply disarming Doom's castle: he installs himself as the new leader of the country and sets about doing his best to destroy everything Doom had left: his reputation with his people, his wealth, his weapons, even the portrait of his mother isn't safe from Reed's wrath. And, make no mistake, it's pissed off anger-fuelled revenge that drives Reed here. He's had enough of Doom always coming back and screwing with his family and he's going to make sure that never happens again. In the process, he alienates Sue, Ben, and Johnny, and pisses off the global community who simply can't allow a private citizen to take over a country like that.

It's easy to see why this story appeals to me so much. It's exactly what I want out of a superhero comic: smart writing that breaks out of the usual superhero mould. A hero actually thinking about the patterns he's been locked into and doing something to break free of them. You know it won't last or work entirely, but that's doesn't matter. It's that brief moment of 'enlightenment' that makes it worthwhile. And had Waid stuck with the above, I would have been satisfied. Instead, he pushes things further...

Reed purposefully drove his family away so he could enact the final part of his plan: rescuing Doom from Hell and locking them both in a room with no exit for eternity so he can make sure Doom never threatens his family again. The ultimate sacrifice and, as both men seem willing to recognise, the ultimate act of hatred. I don't know if Reed was even shown to absolutely hate Doom like this before. Doom had gone too far and was stuck in a room with no escape for etern--

Oh shit, the rest of the Fantastic Four just opened the door so they could rescue Reed from his foolish decisions. Doom uses a mental trick to transer his consciousness to Sue and escape. Then, it becomes a fight where one of the FF is always at risk while Doom's consciousness may not be. Ultimately, he takes over Ben and Reed is forced to kill him. Yeah, kill him. Doom managed to hurt Reed and his family even more. How could Waid possibly follow that up?

(Unfortunately, this story was drawn by Howard Porter instead of Mike Wieringo. That will always bug me...)

In 30 minutes, I'll discuss how Waid, teamed back up with Wieringo, manages to follow up on "Authoritative Action" with "Hereafter."

[Don't forget to donate what you can to the Hero Initiative! (Details in this post.) After you do, let me know via comment or e-mail (found at the righthand side) so I can keep track of donations -- and who to thank.]