Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Fantastic Four loses a member *SPOILERS*

A few months ago Marvel announced that they were killing off one member of the Fantastic Four. As the FF is Marvel’s first family and a cornerstone of the Marvel Universe, people speculated on which member of the team Jonathan Hickman would kill off.

Then issue #587 dropped, complete with a black bag (shades of The Death of Superman), and it sold out immediately. By the time I got a copy (a week later), I was anxious to read it.

The surprising thing about reading it wasn’t the death itself but the fact that I didn’t see the news on who died anywhere on the internet (not that I looked for it). Usually, with a death this big I know who died a day or two later.

Back to the issue: I confess that I didn’t know exactly what was going on. I’m an FF reader through the Jonathan Hickman trade paperbacks – someone (Wizard probably) said it was great and I picked up the first trade.

I’m trying to go light on the spoilers but CNN already covered it here.

The Human Torch is dead.

I love a good death scene: Jean Grey (the first time), Captain Marvel, Blue Beetle (Ted Kord), Batman (Final Crisis), Supergirl (Crisis on Infinite Earths), Jason Todd, etc. The Human Torch’s death scene wasn’t a death scene – the last we see, he’s fighting against overwhelming odds. In comic books, there is a simple rule – no body, no death. He’s probably alive on that other world being held as a slave or in hiding or who knows.

Still, one of the things I like about a good superhero death is the reactions of those closest to them. In this issue you get to see Ben, Franklin, and Valeria’s reaction. I can’t wait for the next issue to see how Reed and Sue take the news and see how the rest of the Marvel Universe reacts.

The day after I read the issue, I saw an article on that Spidey was taking Torch’s place, complete with new costumes and a new team name. I’m as excited about Spidey joining the FF as I was about him joining the New Avengers. Whether I’m actively reading any Spider-Man titles (the only one I really read is Ultimate and I’ve been getting Amazing for the Big Time storyline) I enjoy seeing him in team-up situations.

I really liked the story from a few years ago where Spidey teams up with the FF and Torch is angry because he clearly remembers Spider-Man had his mask off but he can’t remember his face. This of course, was a result of Spidey’s deal with Mephisto which made the entire world forget Peter Parker is Spider-Man. At the end, Spider-Man unmasked for the FF and their memories are restored.

There are some that feel like Spider-Man is already oversaturated. I think that depends on whether you’re a huge fan who is collecting all the regular titles (not alt-universe stuff like Ultimate or young reader’s Marvel Age stuff) and you aren’t a fan of the idea of getting a Spider-Man title where he’s with the remaining members of the FF. For me, I get the titles that I’m enjoying and quit getting them when they’re boring.

I’m looking forward to seeing Spider-Man and what remains of the Fantastic Four bonding on a monthly basis under the skillful pen of Jonathan Hickman.
The Future Foundation

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