Fantastic Friday: A thing for manga

Reading the Fantastic Four comics from the start. The series get a little anime flair in vol. 3 #57 legacy #486, and we’ve got Things all over the place.

The revolving door creative teams of this era continues to revolve, as now we get Adam Warren writing with Keron Grant on pencils. Warren was a big deal at the time thanks to his edgy, sexy anime-style artwork. He was most well-known for The Dirty Pair and Bubblegum Crisis: Grand Mal for Dark Horse, and Livewires at Marvel. He has since written and drawn Empowered since 2007. Grant comes to Fantastic Four from Rob Liefeld’s Awesome Comics group, and he went on to draw New Mutants and Marvel Mangaverse for Marvel, and Son of Vulcan and Young Justice for DC. I suspect that Grant is drawing this issue based on Warren’s drawn thumbnails, but I cannot prove that.

We begin with Ben and Reed pulling an all-nighter in Reed’s lab, where Reed is constructing a prototype pocket universe generator. Ben’s been up all night, and he greets the rest of the family as they gather for breakfast. Ben sits in his favorite recliner to watch some TV, except this is Reed’s special future-predicting television. He sees an image of cheering multitudes erecting a statue in his honor.

Ben falls asleep while Reed continues to work in the lab. Ben wakes, only to find himself surrounded by other Things, each one slightly different from him. The other things speak only in Ben’s catch phrases as they smash up the place. Ben discovers these weird growths all over himself, and the other Things are growing out of him. He says they are distorted replications of Ben’s physical structure. Reed insists he transform back into a human (remember that Ben can do that during this time).

The other Things regroup and attack. They temporarily knock Reed out, so Ben turns back into the Thing to fight them. Reed rushes to the lab and retrieves the temporary pocket universe generator. He says it will activate a test universe that is finite in size and duration, lasting only eight hours. Reed tells Ben to avoid the other Things while in the other universe. Ben activates the device, taking a huge chunk of the new Baxter Building with him. Reed explains the plot a second time to Sue and Johnny, saying he has eight hours to find out what’s wrong with Ben and save him. If he can’t the Earth will be swarmed with endlessly self-replicating Things.

Ben arrives in the temporary universe, which has taken the form of an abandoned Skrull city. The future-predicting TV is there as well, and it tells him that the other Things will eventually return to Earth after killing Ben. Ben faces off against all the other things, who say to him, “It’s clobberin’ time!”

To be continued!

Unstable molecule: Lots of new Reed Richards inventions in this one. In addition to the temporary universe creator and the future-predicting TV, there’s also a special recliner made to support Ben’s weight, and a food replicator-like thing that produces a summer ale for Ben and a genetically-engineered hyper-caffeinated coffee for himself.

Fade out: Sue is back in full-on mom mode, seen only when taking care of the baby.

Clobberin’ time: The catch phrases spouted by the other Things include, “I’ll pulverize the bum,” “Sheesh,” “What a revoltin’ development,” “Blasted,” “Rotten creep,” “Crummy,” “Gangway,” “Sunday punch,” “Knuckle sammich,” “Aunt Petunia,” and of course, “It’s clobberin’ time.”

Flame on: Johnny asks how the super-strong and nearly invulnerable Ben can get tired after being awake for 24 hours. That’s a good question.

Our gal Val: Baby Valeria is described as being very feisty.

Commercial break: Not cool, Cable.

Trivia time: The letters page halfheartedly announces that this was “Thing Month” at Marvel, with the publication of this issue, the Thing/She-Hulk: The Long Night one-shot and the Thing: Freakshow miniseries all coming out this month.

Fantastic or frightful: Basically, this whole issue is just a setup for the big cliffhanger, but that’s all right. Adam Warren brings that over-the-top anime sensibility to this, with crazy technology, silly humor, and big stylized action.

Next: Congress is in session.

* * * *

Want more? Check out my new book, MOM, I’M BULLETPROOF, now available for the Kindle and the free Kindle app. It’s a comedic/dramatic/romantic superhero epic!

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About Mac McEntire

Author of CINE HIGH.
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