Saturday, 27 April 2013

It's not quite Fantastic Four week!!! There's a little Massive too!!!

By absolute luck of the draw (God bless my girlfriend needing a filling, and that her dentist is five minutes away from the comic shop) I was able to pick up this week's new comic book on the day of release, despite the fact life still forced me to have to wait til the weekend to read them (such as Iron Man 3, which I've already written about ). That said, it was still nice little haul I picked; Fantastic Four #7, FF #6 and The Massive #11, and given how good prior installments of these books had been, I thought that this might be a nice week comic wise to finish of what has been, for the most part, a nice month.

So with that, I dove into Fantastic Four #7 which saw Matt Fraction and Matt Bagley follow on their previous issue story at the beginning of the universe by sending the Richards family to the end of the universe to prevent what had happened in the last issue from coming to pass (it's a whole time-travel thing, don't ask).
To be fair, this issue isn't that bad but that is all it is. I don't know if I'm judging the series too harshly in comparison to what came before (the run by Jonathan Hickman) but so far during this run, I've gotten the feeling that the story isn't being unleashed to its full potential. Of course, this issue is a nice issue which wraps up the 2 issue arc brought out for this month, with both art and story abundant with good quality. However, with the exception of a couple of good moments (like Johnny getting confused about time-travel) I just found that my heart wasn't into this book, which is a bit of a let down and somewhat worrying given how long I've been reading the title. And so, I finished this book and moved on to the next.

And what followed was Matt Fraction and Michael Allred's latest installment of the Fantastic Four's sister book, FF #6. This issue focused on new creation Darla Deering and the recent attacks against her by none other than the Yancy Street gang, who (apparently) have taken offence to her taking over from the Thing (going so far as to where a Thing-like battlesuit), while the rest of the foundation begin to look into Medusa's disappearance and abduction of Bentley (the Wizard clone).
Always wondered how the Baxter Building was laid out.
Now, this book is a very different kettle of fish. Again, while not following in the same vein as the last volume, this book appears to have found its own voice and style which is much bigger and louder than its big sister book. Matt Fraction brings a number a fun plots, both big and small and infuses so much humour into each of them with equal measure. He also brings many of the characters into their own, especially Darla and Scott, who are both cementing themselves as my favourite characters, but also Dragon Man and Ahura (who might be the best addition to the cast, time will tell).
And then there is the art, which continues to grow into some of my favourite art around as Allred infuses the essence of Kirby in pretty much every panel, from the cut-away view of the whole Baxter Building to the cartoon like action panels the line up the issues cliffhanger, the Allred's are a perfect team for this book with their offbeat art and it continues to improve and make fall in love with it with each released issue. All I can say is I'm glad that they'll be two issues next month, so I can have twice the enjoyment.

And finally, there was the Massive #11 by Brian Wood and Declan Shalvey, which continued the story of the crew of the Kapital seeking out it's missing sister ship, which here continued to focus on the discontent of the crew as Mary takes the helicopter out to find the Massive which ends up in her becoming stranded on an island surrounded by millions of hungry sharks.
I've heard of Jumping the Shark but this is ridiculous,
Now the Massive continues to be a mixed bag for me. After nearly a year of publication, the primary mission of 'finding the Massive' continues to play second fiddle to various other stories, such as gaining resources and, in the case of this arc, dealing with Mutiny and lack of manpower. However, despite the books peaks and troughs in overall enjoyment, I do continue to be engrossed in the world Brian Wood is building and this issue is certainly one of those peaks. Following the aftermath of the last issue, where half the crew left, it's interesting to see many of those who stayed deal with it in the first half of this issue. It was also interesting to see Callum's recently revealed illness to become a main factor, with Mary encouraging Lars to step up should the worst happen.
I think what makes this issue one of the better issues is the art. I love Declan Shalvey's work. It was fantastic when he was on Thunderbolts and it broke my heart when he left the book, so it's nice to see his stuff again, which continues to have the same aesthetic as some of the other artists on this book, while showing his own flair, especially in the cast's features. Also, the man can certainly draw an impressively creepy school of sharks. This book continues to teeter on the knife edge for me, sometimes I'm into it, sometimes I'm not. I wonder if maybe I'm reading it wrong, like watching a documentary while expecting a Michael Bay style action movie. Despite that I'll still be back next month for the next issue and see which way the wind blows then.

And so, that's this week done. I have to say it wasn't quite as impressive as I hoped. Maybe after last week my standards were a little high, but that doesn't mean that I had a bad week, just have to curtail my expectations. Either that or I'm gonna have to be more brutal in what I allow myself to pick up month by month.

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